Language: Ctrl+Alt+Del (Part 1)

Who amongst us doesn’t have a t.o.e. (theory of everything?) Who hasn’t spent idle moments lost in thought about the origins of humanity or indeed how we came to be called human. Human from the Latin root homo, meaning man. As man we’ve been faced by many challenges and perplexing situations along our evolutionary route but none was, is and probably will continue to be as vexing as the topic of communication.

As a species we alone retain the ability to alter our means of conveyance and to bridge that communication gap between generations. This has allowed us to comprehend and master elements in our environment, thereby promoting us from grunting grotto dwellers to consciously choosing variants of personas. Granted, some of us still choose the regressive route, but the point is that we’ve been afforded a choice. Today our individual and collective realities are woven with complicated threads of thought, made up of words fuelled by primordial emotional connectedness. So one might say that language and evolution is the past and future intermingling, in a perpetual present, because as language evolves so do we and vice versa.So what is language? If you’re thinking, “wow that’s a bit of a philosophical whopper,” well you’re right but let’s not get too deep just yet. We have to wade in a shallow pool of alphabet soup before braving the depths of communication.

In the beginning there was the word and the word was comprised of letters. Little lines and dots joined at the head or hip to help us create order. It was the same for our ancestors as with us, with the exception that they had a living, symbiotic relationship with theirs. It was a divine scale dialogue in which they revered their symbols and in turn believed the symbols would bless them. In a time when gods were plenty and believers more these symbols often represented the deities and their bounty. It was the age of imagery, a bridge between the old world and the new.
Conversation by way of symbolism predates letters by approximately 40, 800 years ago. It was the dawn of man’s creative expression, when the very first menus depicted buck and bison, elegantly and quite artfully painted in mud, on cave wall canvas. These ancient tribes left their mark on history, quite literally by being the first scribes. We are indebted to them, and to those who have upheld this tradition of recording events for posterity.

Our task as the grandchildren of ancient scribes is to preserve, but also to build upon the solid, rock foundation we’ve inherited. We owe it to them to improve and refine our communication skills, to a point where meaning is crystal clear and understanding is inevitable. At least where human condition is concerned. With clearer communication we can hope to further close the gap, not just between generations but between each other as friends, lovers and foes. Hopefully, someday discontinuing use of the latter. What’s needed in the centuries ahead are to create histories, for future generations, devoid of the toxic jargon we’ve inherited from our past. Let our heirs look back on us and say gratefully . . .
“Qapla! Jup qatlho’!”

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