Words are thoughts and we can't think without them. Or can we?
I first heard this when Michelle Pfeiffer said it in the movie Dangerous Minds in 1995. Do you remember it? When Coolio was cool and he was singing - I'll see you when you get there, if you ever get there.... Long before he went onto Big Brother.
But in one of the scenes in that movie, where the teacher Miss LouAnne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) was trying to teach the class a lesson on something, says "words are thoughts we can't think without them". In trying to get their attention!
But how true is that? Strictly speaking?
For years people have been asking such questions like Is it Possible to Think without Language? And or is it possible to think without words?Can thoughts exist without Language?Do we need Language to Think? And how do animals think if they don't know what words are? And questions like this, questioning just how much we really need words to be able to think at all.
When you're born, you don't know how to speak and you're just trying to make sense of the world. As you grow, you learn words, and what those words mean. Then you're able to talk them and realize, if you use them together, you can ask your momma for sippy sippy when you're hungry. You can ask for blankey when you're cold. Even though if you want those things, your mind will create a picture of them first. A mental image if you will. But pictures have objects in them. And objects have names to them. And as you learn what those objects are called that you picture in your mind, you can speak them using language.
So that said, are thoughts words, and can we think without them? We certainly can't talk without words! Although we know cavemen used to grunt at things. They used words like uhg and arg as they didn't really know any words back then. Eventually we started coming up with different kinds of uhg's and arg's for things. We started learning words for the first time. And these days we have many different languages, dialects and words for things. If you believe the evolutionaries anyway. I personally believe that words existed long before mankind came along! But that's a matter of opinion and faith.
What do you think? And is me asking you that, proof that we do need words to be able to think? How else could you think of anything to say without words? How else could you tell me what you think unless you think of some words first to tell me?
I guess it's true then, words are thoughts, and we can't think without them.
But then, we can still picture images in our mind.
So in fact, words aren't thoughts, but we can't speak without them.