Difficulty of Communication – Words, Words

Words can be limiting. They result in misunderstandings, mistranslations, and sometimes even barriers that prevent humans – us – from reaching through to each other.

Author after author has complained about how the meaning they are trying to convey in their writings never quite find the right words to come out through, and everybody has felt this way, in some way or another.

“Words are the source of misunderstandings.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“Every word is an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.” ~Samuel Beckett, Endgame

“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.” ~Gustave Flaubert

“When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” ~Rumi

Sometimes it does seem easier to simply remain silent rather than converse in incomplete words and thoughts.

But imagine a world where everybody knew exactly how one another felt. No barriers of thought – all humanity existing in a Vulcan mind meld. We would have very little privacy, but more significantly, no identity of our own. Our inability to communicate, paradoxically, allows us to retain our sense of “self”.

And this makes human interaction all the more profound when we break through our spheres of solitudes to one other. When we feel understood, it is all the more powerful. It is no evil thing to struggle against the vacuum of silence around each one of us and be heard without the distortion of grammar and vocabulary – it is the supreme intention of the higher arts.

So, if art were easy – if communication were easy – would it be worth it? We are bursting with the things we feel, and sometimes we think ourselves alone, because we are limited physically in the world by our five senses. It is a noble thing to bring out the treasures we have stored inside each of us for others to enjoy as well. Yes, words can be slow, but they are the tools that we have been given for use, and we must make the most of them. We must not be frustrated, but enthusiastic, to first expand the solitude of our thoughts, then prepare to traverse the distance to reach our companions.


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