A World Without Words

by Jann Weeruntunga

Language and words are what set us apart from other animals on this planet. but more and more emphasis is being placed on Maths and the Sciences and less on the Arts and words. But what if those words ceased?

I watched a movie called 1000 Words in which Eddie Murphy is, a literary agent who uses his “gift of gab” to get book deals, and he is not afraid to stretch the truth in the process. But overnight a Bodhi Tree magically appears in his backyard with 1000 leaves on it.

He discovers that for every word that he speaks a leaf falls from the tree and that when the tree runs out of leaves, it will die, and so will he. So, suddenly his use of words becomes his most precious gift. Today would like to share my 1000 words, my gift, with you.

So, what if we try living in a world without words for 30 days? No written words – no books, magazines, television, radio or any other technology that would have involved the written word either in their creation or their on- going production.

30 days without words, I think for many of us we would actually go bonkers, I know I for one would. Not being able to read, write or keep up with my Social Media for that long would be like cutting off my head.

So, let’s just sit for 5 seconds without words……………… It’s actually quite a long time, isn’t it? The silence makes us realise just how precious words are.

The written word is in the very fabric of our being – from recording History to the potential for our future. The spoken word would soon be forgotten, lost in mists of time. So, we depend on the written word to record our thoughts, ideas and stories, whether they be fact or fiction.

Words and books are the building blocks on which Society rests from the youngest member’s learning their ABC’s, to the oldest enjoying much loved Classics or the excitement of a new author. All reading provides learning and we are never too young to learn.

Some of the greatest men on the planet have been wordsmiths and we can testify to their works still today. Their words so powerful that they live on through generations.

Words are powerful, and we must take responsibility for how we use words. Shakespeare, Hitler, Mandela, and Gandhi realized their words could raise or destroy Nations. Words can be beautiful and creative but they can also be dangerous, used in the wrong hands, they can move men to battle, or bring about peace and reconciliation to a Nation.

The written word holds power. Wise words hold much power “… the pen is mightier than the sword.” How many times have we heard that phrase, but it true, because it is through words that we actually find Peace when there has been conflict?

Words can also cause fear, fear that by educating the down trodden, women, the poor, those without a voice, that they, will surpass us. The opposite is true. By raising the weakest, most vulnerable members of our society, we raise Society itself.

So, where does this all start? Well, I believe it starts with our children, it starts by reading to them and in turn for them reading to us. I remember sitting on my mother’s lap or tucked up in bead at night as she read to me – thanks MUM and to all mum’s.

The written word holds the keys to education, and we must present these keys to the youth, provide them with books and words that will inspire that wakingdream that will open up the pages of their imagination. Because it is their imagination that will be our future.

Words like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, or, Antidisestablishmentarianism. and even if theydon’t know what they mean yet, just being able to say them will make them feel grown-up, important, confident.

When you watch the face of a child when you read to them, their faces say it all. You watch as the words wake the dream, spark the imagination.

Recently I read a dinosaur book with a young boy. Now I don’t know if you have read a book on dinosaurs but oh – my – goodness – whoever invented the names of dinosaurs basically threw the alphabet up into the air and waited for the letters to fall then added saurus to the end.

As I read, I watched his face and it was as if a whole world was opening up to him and there in was the magic. The magic that brings alive the imagination. Unfortunately, we had to stop, but early the next morning he came hopping into my room and said,

“Can we read again, the book is still open at the same page.”

As wordsmiths we weave a story, we create worlds, realms, Kingdoms, places where children and adults alike can lose themselves, or maybe I should say find themselves.

So, I call upon you all to read and help our youth to find their feet, their words, their own stories, and help them to create their own Brave New World.

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