Language Powers Digital

What comes first?

Once was digital.

Then gamification.

Now mobile.

Maybe next wearable.

But what does any of that really mean?

Is not the ultimate use of any of the above based on ideas?

And aren’t ideas based on people’s vision for creating something new?

And, at the end of the day will it not be ideas that drive whatever the next “first” is?

And, won’t ideas continue to drive the best use of digital, mobile – whatever?

And here is where I got inspired today by RR Hidary.

He quoted Ferdinand de Saussure, known as the “founder” of modern linguistics, who said:

“Psychologically, what are our ideas, apart from our language?…There is nothing at all distinct in thought before the linguistic sign.”

Needless to say, we need to define language.

“Language is the ability to acquire and use complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so, and a language is any specific example of such a system. The scientific study of language is called linguistics.”

Frankly – the more I read, the more inspired I was because there is a prevalent view that human language is modality-independent…proof I would argue being the global spread of media technology over the years, culminating in today’s digital/mobile reach.

But the stuff works…meaning digital…to keep it plain…because of language…visual, audio, graphic – which transmits stories and ideas…and as use of these channels grow and new ways of using them are developed, they work because we can communicate within them…share a language expressed in words or pictures or graphic symbols or video or even live.

And try this thought on:

“Language is by its very nature a communal thing; that is, it expresses never the exact thing but a compromise – that which is common to you, me, and everybody.” Thomas Ernest Hulme, Speculations, 1923

Could there be a better description of our global digitally shared culture today?

Here is another and I’d argue an important lesson for all who market goods, services, political ideas or whatever:

“Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery.”- Mark Amidon

And I’d add, without violence and war…

Finally, I find it intriguing that although details vary, language is the modus of creation in the Judaeo/Christian/Muslim traditions of the formation of the world.

We live in a world where language can still sadly divide but where it can also so powerfully connect. Where it can cause huge hurt but where it can catalyze profound cure.

Make no mistake, the power of digital is not anything else first but language and the ideas language creates…Listen:

“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

And language is all about people…us.

Think people first…language comes naturally and then – oh then – will we really realize the full power of the tool we have to change the world.

What do you think?

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