Language & the Landscape of our Minds
The average American spends 11 hours per day on their devices and interacting on social media. Mass and instant communication has reached a technological apex -- we are more "connected" to one another than ever before.
But of the infinite possible effects that more screen time and instant communication might have on humanity, Wordeby's is concerned with merely one aspect of it all: The Decline of Artful Language.
Technological efficiency has, quite effortlessly, replaced thoughtful articulation; emoticons replace emotions, abbreviations replace sentiments, acronyms replace phrases, swipes replace relationships. The repercussions are everywhere.
There is no going back.
Communication with and relationships between friends, family, and the world have been forever altered. Articulate language -- an artifact of a waning age.
As sociology's great Sherry Turkle puts it, "we expect more from technology and less from each other." Technology has become a bridge between our worlds and the world around us. But on the flip side technology has become a filter--literally and figuratively.
"Pandora's Box" by Arthur Markham
As technology becomes the filter of our communication with one another, we filter our humanity with one another as well.
Today's tsunamic supply of visual and mental stimulation is quashing our demands in almost every category of life. Most of all, oversupply is quashing demands and expectation of language and our expression of it to each other and to ourselves. Articulate language is on a deathbed ailing from neglect. The death of good communication is not merely a linguistic tragedy, it is an intellectual and humanistic tragedy affecting our lives and our relationships.
Art by Polish Philosopher and Illustrator Pawel Kuczynski.
Relationships with others aside, on an individualist's note, Words define our thoughts. If we don't nurture and grow our WORD REALMS, we don't nurture and grow our THOUGHT REALMS.
Wordeby's is a firm believer in the power of semantics -- the power of how words and their meanings in turn affect the very landscape of our minds. Harvard linguist, Steven Pinker, takes the power of semantics further: "Semantics is about the relation of words to reality" Pinker writes, "- the way that speakers commit themselves to a shared understanding of the truth, and the way their thoughts are anchored to things and situations in the world." Indeed, words and our particular uses of them are powerful vehicles between ourselves and the outside world.
In a world where language is wielded as a weapon, bent to fit faddish agendas, or where a single trend-word comes to replace a thousand emotional nuances, the state of articulate communication traverses into the realm of "endangered species" -- worst of all, when language is censored to pacify the emotional fragility of a mollycoddled society, articulation and eloquence stands squarely on death row. Replaced nonchalantly by an expanding library of emoticons and an army of graduating American high school seniors where only a third of them are proficient in reading. We must reverse course.
Art by Editorial Illustrator, John Holcroft.
Here at Wordeby's, ALL WORDS MATTER - the good, the bad, the ugly. But mostly the good.
Wordeby's is here to preserve and in turn, inspire an appreciation of fine words in the hopes of inspiring finer minds. In our fast and abbreviated world, we should find all the more reason to slow down and appreciate the finer nuances of the language we share with one another.
As a curator collects and protects fine specimens for his museum, Wordeby's is here to collect and protect fine specimens of language against a backdrop of civilization's great artists, old and new.
Be Ever Elucidated,