words are crazy.
If you think about it, words are the most basic and purest archetype of creation tools.
I believe our Maker gave us words as the starter kit to become creators ourselves.
Let me try to explain why:
The other day, I was walking down 5th Avenue during rush hour when I got lost in a mob of commuters. In this sea of black and grey suits, a beautiful blonde girl in an apple red dress slipped into my line of sight. And at that moment, she was all I can see against the dreary backdrop of lifeless bodies as she whisked gracefully past me. I turned around to get another glimpse of her red dress, but she was swallowed up by the city once again.
Okay, so this never happened in real life.
But if I played it right, I got you to manifest the lady in red in your mind's eye from this composition of words I specifically chose. I was able to create a new reality on a certain plane in the reader's mind! I mean, we've been talking, listening and reading our whole lives, so this is by no means earth shattering. All of us have told stories and lies before. But if you take a step back and realize what we can do with just a simple arrangement of words, it's quite marvelous.
I think we take the magnitude of this God-given tool for granted.
I did so myself, until I watched a scene in the movie, Waking Life by Richard Linklater.
Creation seems to come out of imperfection. It seems to come out of a striving and a frustration. And this is where I think language came from. I mean, it came from our desire to transcend our isolation and have some sort of connection with one another. And it had to be easy when it was just simple survival. Like, you know, 'water.' We came up with a sound for that. Or 'Saber-toothed tiger right behind you.' We came up with a sound for that.
But when it gets really interesting, I think, is when we use that same system of symbols to communicate all the abstract and intangible things that we're experiencing. What is, like, frustration? Or what is anger or love? When I say 'love,' the sound comes out of my mouth and it hits the other person's ear, travels through this Byzantine conduit in their brain, you know, through their memories of love or lack of love, and they register what I'm saying and they say yes, they understand.
But how do I know they understand? Because words are inert. They're just symbols. They're dead, you know? And so much of our experience is intangible. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed. It's unspeakable. And yet, you know, when we communicate with one another, and we feel that we've connected, and we think that we're understood, I think we have a feeling of almost spiritual communion. And that feeling might be transient, but I think it's what we live for.
- Waking Life
I love Linklater because the transcendentalist dialogues in his films always opened up my mind to perceive mundane things in a refreshing way. This particular scene opened it up for language and words. Before that, I used to put emphasis on the power of visual arts and music. Language was second class.
In its essence, a word is really just an auditory and visual cue connecting paths in our intricate minds associating with specific information and memories. And with the right calculated cues, you can create and transfer new thoughts into another person that trigger responses in the form of their ideas, emotions and imagination.
If that's not the closest thing to pure creation, I don't know what is.
At every second, each person's mind is a blank canvas. You can use words to paint anything on that canvas.
And the more words you know that the person knows, then the more paintbrushes you have to get into the tiny details of the picture you're trying to paint.
Create. Communicate. Impress.
I'd like to think language is God's preferred paintbrush.
Jesus spoke in parables, the Bible was written in text and the Gospel is shared vocally.
When you read chapter 1 of Genesis, check out how God created the universe. He spoke it into existence:
3. and God said, "Let there be light"
6. and God said, "Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water"
11. and God said, "Let the land produce vegetation"
14. and God said, "Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night"
25. then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness..."
-Genesis Chapter 1
We are creators through words just as He, in His image.
The question is, what do you plan to paint with your words?
And whom are you painting for?