This I Believe

Sadie - California
Entered on January 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity

Human beings differ little genetically from other animals; in fact, we share up to 98.5 per cent of identical genes with chimpanzees. What separates us, though, is the ability to verbally express ideas – the ability to use language. I believe in language and the infinite possibility it represents. I believe in language as the bond and partition of humankind.

Language provides infinite possibilities for expression through endless combinations of sounds. In the 16th century, Shakespeare began to fabricate new words to his liking, and we continue in that tradition. Language also allows for endless combinations of words themselves. It lives within each of us, because it is we who create and perpetuate it daily. If not for its continual evolution, we may not have gotten far past Shakespeare in the realm of new words and ideas; however, language multiplies and grows with us.

Written word is a form of art. Like paint on canvas, it can describe the world of the artist or articulate concepts that exist only in his consciousness. Language leaves a blueprint for history as complex and distinctive as the work of any master of the brush; the work of Whitman and of Rembrandt are each equally representative of their respective time periods, and equally beautiful. Words are as infinite as colors, for there are vast amounts of each beyond our comprehension, imagination, and perception.

Language offers us the prospect of complete understanding of one another. Every state and feeling can be verbally described, even if only with a lengthy list of blending or conflicting concepts. The beauty of language is that it need not be concise. As an idea’s description lengthens, its meaning deepens. If one illustrates an apple simply as a red fruit, it is adequate. If he chooses instead characterize it as a glossy, succulent ruby picked from a tree, the plain red fruit is made to expand into a greater thing. Language extends our world beyond the objects of which it is composed and into space we that we knew not existed.

The human community is united through language, despite its vast variances across the globe. The knowledge that we can, with practice, understand each other’s native tongues is a testament to human ingenuity and determination, as well as to the indispensability of language as a means of connection. In fact, we bond so well in learning each other’s speech that we borrow pieces. The human spectrum of verbal expression overlaps, but its very existence in such wide variation makes it an endless phenomenon.

Though we are separated from other living things by our unique ability to produce language, it is our gift, and we should treat it as such. Only humans can convey our intelligence so extensively. Only we have the opportunity to develop an endless culture built upon our elegantly articulated ideas. I believe in language and its infinite nature that has become our foundation and our future.