Michał Karzyński


It’s good to know many words, but is a large vocabulary really necessary to think, or be creative? The answer of course, is no. Computers every day demonstrate that all we can say can easily be digitized into a string of 0s and 1s, thus proving that any larger dictionary is superfluous.
But in order to use the information contained in ones and zeros, we need would need a very fast brain. Just imagine how much time it would take you to translate bits into bytes, look up the corresponding letter values of each byte in an ASCII table, put the letters together into words, the words into sentences, and finally the sentences into a meaning. Even for a every short text it would take minutes maybe hours. We can’t claim that it is the fault of the code, because even the human-optimized Morse code is not that much faster.

Words are useful for human communication, because they can quickly and accurately express complex concepts. I am no psychologist, but in my opinion there is a correspondence between words and concepts. Each word carries with it a meaning, which is a subjective abstract, filled with emotional and circumstantial connotations. Call it a meme if you like.

Every concept is originally non-verbal. If this was not true, then new concepts could not arise, because we would lack words to describe them. The concept-building process could not even begin. After the first non-verbal instinct, we dress the concepts into words and arrange the words into sentences with the use of a logic. Thus prepared a concept is ready to be passed onto others, and if they pick it up, it attains a life of its own, a memetic existence.

But in order to become fully functional, most memes need names and these names are the words which we use. They are very important, because after the initial explanation of concepts such as ?solipsism?, it becomes much more efficient to use this name rather then the longer description in conversations or in thinking.

Words play a role of a function, or sub-routine in a computer program. The part of the program which is often used is placed in a subroutine, which is called every time a specific action is required instead of writing all the instructions over again. All programmers know that this is the way to make your programs more ordered and the only way to write truly complex applications.

Taking the analogy even further, we can talk about code-reuse and libraries of functions used by many programs. Such libraries are like the words used by people, especially people who specialize in something. When you are a philosopher, you (should) know the ideas of others, because then you can incorporate them into your own mental construction.

Throughout the ages the concept-libraries have grown up to great sizes. Thus, today we have many building blocks to use when constructing our worldviews… how fortunate we are! We should not pass up this opportunity to acquire as many concepts as possible.

I hereby call on anyone: give me a word! If you know of a word which describes a useful new (non redundant) concept, in anything from philosophy to cooking, then let me know.