Are words slowing us down?

Do words stop us from being innovative and inventive? Does language tie us to traditional ways of thinking? As a society are we being restricted by assigning a name to every object, action or concept? Perhaps.

Let me provide an example to explain my thinking. Gamification. A tech-savvy friend of mine introduced me to the word about six months ago. Until then I only had a vague idea of what the concept was about.

At the time I was relieved to finally have a concrete term that I could apply; a definition I could cling to, rather than floundering around in a mess of half-formed thoughts, suppositions and what turned out to be ignorant guesses.

I suddenly had solid ground to discuss and debate the pros and cons of gamification; to grasp more fully how I m being gamified as a consumer and how I can gamify my own communication to stimulate engagement. (Not sure there is actually a verb gamify, but there should be).

But is this necessarily a good thing? What would have happened if I had pursued my ignorant course? If I had continued to bounce around thoughts and ideas, no matter how ill informed, without constraint, without pre-conceived notions interfering. What would have come up with?

Sure, this example covers a relatively benign subject. But what impact does language, as a constraint, have on thought processes in say science and medicine? In politics and social development? In relationships and international interactions?

This is just an ill-formed preliminary thought. One that currently comes without specific terminology. I wonder where it will end up.

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Posted in Random thoughts, Words and language

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