How Would Life Change in a World Without Language?

Imagine waking up on an Earth without language.

How is life different?

In many ways, I’d think your life would be simpler. You could only interpret people’s intent and beliefs by their actions.

You would never listen to the unproductive and unvirtuous. For all their words, their actions would speak louder. Your mind wouldn’t be fogged with the common contradiction of words and action (or lack thereof).

You would be much more skeptical of politicians, evangelists, salespeople, and pedantic people in general.

You would notice that the most financially and sexually successful people rarely follow the common narrative of “be nice, get along, and don’t rock the boat” (even if they preach it themselves.)

You would expect far less approval from other people, because you would see how rare it is to get anyway.

You would have fewer garden-variety “friends” but more true companions. You would shun any acquaintance that was easy.

You would understand women.

You would experience fewer frustrating mysteries, seeming betrayals, hypocrisies, and broken hearts. You would see a person’s mind in their actions long before they decided to tell it in their words. You would deal with humans as with reality.

Perhaps more importantly, turning off your own damn mouth would be a good thing, too. No more promises, pleasing words, or nice-sounding stuff to convey intent. You’d have to work much harder and show up more to show someone you were really serious.

Now consider that there are people who do these things. We think of those “vow of silence” monks as aberrant humans, but maybe we’re the wrong ones. Maybe we humans haven’t learned how to make our words and our actions one. So maybe more silence and more tuning-out is not so strange a thing.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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