Saturday, May 25, 2013

What If The World is not Defined by Words?

Imagine the world we are living in, contains no words. Imagine, all of us are illiterate, we don’t have the 26 A-Z letters for our name, we don’t have number to define our ages, we don’t have North East West South to define the direction, we don’t have language, we don’t have words. How are we going to live in this world without words, without being literate?

We are used to living with reading

We are reading all the times. We read books since kindergarten, we read newspapers, we read road signs, we read streets name, we read documents, we read identity cards.

What is East? Where is it? In this literate era, we learn through words. We learn that “East is the direction where Sun is rising from.” In ancient era, they don’t have the word “East”, and they just did. Instead of understanding it is East, they define our “east” direction as “the direction where Sun rises from.” Now we know that Sabah Sarawak is East of us who stay in Peninsular. In ancient time, Sabah is “in that direction (pointing towards where the Sun rises)”. (Oh yeah, and we don’t know what Sabah is if we don’t have words.)

No matter what we do, where we go, we are relying on words. We order food in restaurant, we need to read Menu. We go to stranger place, we need to read maps. We buy a new phone, we need to read catalogue on their specifications. What if, there is no words to define the food, the locations, and the specification?

Can we learn through feeling, or by experience?

Words are sometimes ambiguous, abstract, and not specific. Therefore, it is sometimes misleading. The best way to learn something is through feeling, and by experience.

Let’s say, we are choosing smartphone. We know that, by reading the catalogues, we will never know how is the user experience of the smartphone. Is the interface good? Is it smooth? Will it be laggy? No matter how good the specification is written, if we never experience, it, we never know until we try.

Let’s say, we are driving to certain location. There are thousands of road signs, some are really misleading. You know that, Malaysian drivers, you will never know which road sign to follow. The better way is to recognise the landmark, or the well recognised buildings.

Let’s say we take train from KL Central to Segamat. Do you know whether you reached Segamat or not if you can’t find the sign board, or if nobody tell you? What will you do to recognize that?

Observation is more important

Observation is really important than reading words. We need to know how to recognise a certain place by observing the location around. We need to know the performance of a smartphone by observing its differences with other smartphones.

For certain things or certain places, we can recognise them, or differentiate them by observation. We can try to find out something that is representative of that thing, or that place.

We take KTM from KL Central to Segamat, we can recognise Segamat by not just looking for the signboard, but seeing the “big red mall”, and many buses (bus terminal) beside the big red mall, and also a fountain as the roundabout. That’s where Segamat is!

We choose the phones, not by their brand (because brand is words). We choose by observing the differences between one and others. We always choose the better user experience one, don’t we?

Can we live without words?

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