Modern Hieroglyphics

As a pseudo-writer, I often ponder on the wonderful use of language to communicate. This is the year 2020 and we have come a long way to learn how to communicate more effectively. Let’s take a short look at our advancement as a species, shall we?

A long, long, long time ago, the ancient people realized they had some pretty good stories to share. While verbal communication was easier and quicker, some realized the stories were so good they needed to be remembered. So, they started communicating with pictures.

This was before the invention of paper or any such thing so they started decorating rocks with symbols to tell their stories. Their symbols were pictures that they drew using their limited supply of paint they could make. Good job on figuring out how to put those opposable thumbs to use, early people! It was quite tedious but there are still some remnants of stories so we know they tried. If you see some ancient rock art you may not understand the message but you know it must have been some humdinger of a story to go through all that work to preserve it. Bragging much, early people?

After some time, the people realized if they combined certain symbols they could tell even more stories. If the symbols were uniform then they could communicate more effectively. And so, symbols were combined and became known as alphabets. As time marched on people realized the symbols didn’t need to be pictures necessarily but each symbol could represent a specific rule. When the rules were combined in different ways words could be produced. For example, instead of drawing a rising sun (which could be misinterpreted as a setting sun) a person could combine a combination of symbols now known as letters and write “rising sun.” Voila! An idea expressed without having to draw a sun.

What an invention, early people! Combinations of letters could record stories. The drawback is each civilization took those letters and made them their own. Now instead of one picture of a rising sun there are many, many ways rising sun can be written with letters. For example, Google tells me sol naciente and soleil levant is the symbol combination for rising sun in Spanish and French respectively.

The point is, as a human race we have spent a lot of time and effort to try and communicate effectively with words. We have developed languages and the written word to share our stories. In the English language alone Google tells me there are more than a million words. The average person uses 20,000 – 30,000 words. On a side note, that’s a lot of words to share and still have so much miscommunication. But that is a train of thought for another day.

In the year of 2020, how are we communicating with each other?


With pictures. We have reverted back to using pictures to communicate. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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