Words are useful tools when considering that they make up the entirety of our system to convey ideas. Without words, we are reduced to senseless gesturing, facial signals, and some distant hope of understanding and communicating.
Language, at its core, is representational. Thankfully we have a universal acceptance of what words are and how to use them. We have rules in place for grammar, syntax, and acceptance of social norms.
But, at the end of the day, all words are merely figments.
Consider love. The Greeks had six words for love:
- Eros, or sexual passion.
- Philia, or deep friendship.
- Ludus, or playful love.
- Agape, or love for everyone.
- Pragma, or longstanding love.
- Philautia, or love of the self.
Where we use “love” to indicate some semblance of emotion, the Greeks laid out different forms of love that we can all recognize.
Our language is only as good as our shared understanding of it. And when all of our thoughts and emotions are deeply personal, it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re understood.