The End of Words

Several months ago I watched a movie, Fahrenheit 451. It was less thrilling of a movie than the trailers led me to believe it was, but it had an interesting concept strung throughout the plot: Words were outlawed and everything was communicated in symbols. As I watched, I kept thinking about how our society is slowly changing into a society like this, with all of our emojis and symbols, but that there is no way we could ever go to that full extreme. Right?

Now, let's fast forward to this week, where I have been overwhelmed by symbols. While filling out my unemployment claim and while job searching through their website, I encountered several new symbols. I suppose the symbols should make it easier for people to quickly see requirements and scroll through jobs faster, but there was one symbol that I stared at for a good 5 minutes trying to figure out what it meant. I pretty much figured out everything that it couldn't be, but I am still unsure what exactly it did mean.

Since then, I have been noticing symbols everywhere: stereo manual, recipe sheets, public restrooms, road signs, websites, emojis, prescription drug bottles, food containers, AHHHHHHH!!!! You see, the more I see these symbols everywhere the more I realize how quickly we are evolving back to a symbol society. Yes, I said back to. Why did I say that? Well, have you seen the hieroglyphs in Egypt? Are hieroglyphs and symbols an advanced communication system, or are they a step back in the evolutionary chain? It's hard to imagine being able to communicate everything we think, feel, and need to say with a symbol, but then again, if we continue to become a society that disconnects from human interaction and keeps increasing our virtual intelligence, then yes, it is possible that one day, just one day, we will no longer need to know how to read, write, and sing our ABC's. Children in schools no longer are taught handwriting, since the keyboard has been deemed more valuable. I remember when one of my daughters was in elementary school, and she was being taught to write words by sounding them out and writing down how she thought they were spelled. When I asked the teacher why she never corrected the incorrect spelling, she said it was because spelling was no longer important. She said technology will help make up for poor spellers, and it was more important to help her with the phonics. I suppose you do need to make sure you pronunciate perfectly when you are talking to an artificial intelligence being.