A Picture Is Worth All The Words

Posted: July 20, 2014 in Short Story
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Imagine a world without words. Pictures are used to communicate. Those who draw poorly are poor communicators.

Since there are no words, there are no languages.  If you can draw it, then you can communicate it… to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Money is gold and silver and other precious stones and jewels.  Without letters and numbers, money never became worthless paper.  Bartering is still a common practice.

Trust is essential.  After all, how would you communicate that someone cheated you 500 apples? You can draw the orchard and the barrels full of apples to convey that you want the apples plucked from the trees.  You can draw a picture of the barrels full of apples on a truck.  The basic ideas are there, but you have to trust that the owner of the orchard is going to give you a fair amount of apples.

In this world, things run pretty smoothly.  They have learned to get past the limitations in their form of communication.  In fact, they don’t even perceive the limitations since it is the only language they have known.

Every so often, though, you’ll have a rebel.  Someone who feels compelled to color outside the lines.  This one’s name was Cloud Strike… or at least that’s the best translation available for a name spelled with a cloud and a bolt of lightning.  Cloud Strike was tormented.  He was perplexed by the ideas that filled his head that he had no way to convey.  His frustration grew because it appeared that everyone else was perfectly fine with not being able to convey certain things… or so he thought.  Since there was no way to convey these ideas, he couldn’t really know for sure.

Part of his frustration is that he is a poor artist.  He can barely draw a straight line without the help of a straight edge.  What if he was hungry and wanted 2 sandwiches instead of just 1?  He needed to figure out some sort of system to represent 2 so that he wouldn’t have to draw 2 separate sandwiches. He then looked down at his hands. What if each finger could represent a sandwich?

He decided to try this new method of communication.  He went to the local cafe and pointed at the sandwiches.  He then held up 2 fingers. At first, the owner of the cafe was confused.  What were these hand gestures?  Cloud Strike could see the puzzled look on the owner’s face, so the grabbed one finger and then the other finger to try to emphasize the concept of 2.  The owner gave him a sandwich. Cloud Strike then pointed to the sandwich and back to his finger to indicate that it was only 1 sandwich. The owner didn’t fully grasp, but he grabbed another sandwich.  Cloud Strike then pointed to the second sandwich and to his second finger.  It was then that the proverbial light bulb came on.  The owner realized that Cloud Strike had wanted 2 sandwiches.  He now knew how to communicate with his customers to figure out how many sandwiches they wanted.

This was the beginning of the end.  Pretty soon teenagers would be gesturing with their hands all of the time instead of paying attention to what their parents were drawing.

How does that make you feel?

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