Humans have this funny thing called language: an aural and visual way of expressing what we’re thinking and how we feel. Language has been an indispensable part of human history. After all, without it, history itself would not exist.
In the grand scheme of things, language has been incredibly successful in improving our lives and moving humanity forward. Thanks to its contributions, we are able to learn, interact and coexist with one another. Language has allowed us to create civilization and establish societies. Most importantly, it’s given humankind a voice, one by which we as a species may record and preserve all that we have seen and done in our time on this planet.
Throughout human history, however, language has not been the sole – or even original – means of human communication. Long before the invention of words, other forms of expression, such as art and music, had sprung into existence in the eyes and ears of our ancestors.
These other manifestations of human thought and emotion reflect language’s inability to satisfy the fine, impressionistic nature of our feelings. Even today, with roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world, there are still situations in which the tools of language are unable to communicate the subtle hues that color one’s most heartfelt emotions.
I first became aware of the discrepancy between the world of written and spoken word and the realm that existed within my heart and mind when I was six years old. I had begun to learn how to play the piano, encouraged by my exposure to my mom’s lessons with her private teacher at the time. Despite my youthful ignorance, I could hear the soulful reverberations of music’s immense communicative potential echoing beneath the pretty sounds coming from the belly of the instrument.
However, it wasn’t until another eight years or so had passed that I finally began to appreciate the full extent of that potential. Having played the piano for the majority of my life, when the woes of adolescence struck, I turned to music as a way of expressing myself. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered that playing my way through pages of Chopin and Bach helped me channel my emotions better than words ever could. Something about the abstract beauty of music allows it to reconcile the rawness of your deepest feelings and express it without losing any aspects of their delicate integrity.
That’s not to say that language is incapable of expressing emotions. I’ve always loved words, and they are fully capable of expressing most of our thoughts and feelings. However, I’ve also found that they are often unable to articulate the nuance of human emotions. In situations such as these, art and music, along with many other forms of deeper expression, provide us with the necessary tools to communicate our emotions – and that’s something truly invaluable to one’s heart, mind and soul. Having such a medium empowers us to better understand and cope with our deepest feelings and emotions.
Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.