For the longest time I thought language was only a method of communication. While on the surface it might be utilised for that purpose, I feel its ability to help transmit messages is merely a byproduct of a more powerful mechanism that operates at a more fundamental level. Even though it might have come about to facilitate communication, I’m no linguist, I feel in the process we have created a more formidable device. Words printed on paper, lit through pixels on a computer screen and spoken to travel as vibrations, are tiny artefacts of an extremely advanced and complex system that has control over not only our thoughts but our perception of reality itself.

Language is a device that filters reality. We render our world through language. Our understanding of the objective reality is a function of what language we use to process it. We are fundamentally separated from the objective reality by the limitations of the apparatus we use to comprehend it. The image of it that you and I produce with language happens to align more often than not, which allows us to maintain an illusion of a shared reality. In other words, it doesn’t matter if an objective reality exists or not because our understanding of it stems from a chance alignment of different interpretations of it. This is just my reading of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, have a look at it if it piques your interest.

Now, everyone has a different grasp over language. Your understanding of the world is subject to how well you can articulate the language to illustrate it. I feel even though two people might speak the same language, their versions of perceived reality are at the mercy of how well integrated they are with the language they use to process it. If you’re unable to piece together your words like the person you’re speaking to, then they’re operating with a more high resolution image of reality which allows them to see details where you cannot. And that gives them power over you.

This universal over-reliance on language makes it a very powerful tool, one that can be weaponised to great effect. Because if language creates reality, then in the right hands it can also be used quite literally, to bend it. So if you don’t have words it’s better to sit at home or take to the life of a hermit, because the people with words will, in a manner that is considered most civil and socially acceptable, brutally slaughter you and your argument into tiny little pieces while you stand speechless in front of the world to see. They will cheer and clap in your embarrassing and humiliating defeat and you won’t be able to do anything about it.

In that moment, perhaps you can find strength in having knowledge of the fact that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. I’m certain that should make you feel a lot better.