A picture’s worth a thousand words

the third blot of the Rorschach inkblot test

the third blot of the Rorschach inkblot test (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We think in pictures.  If someone asks you to think of a million dollars, you think of a pile of cash or a filled out check.  There might be some language written on the check … but the language is part of a picture.

There’s a simple reason for this.  Language isn’t real.  Words are an invention.

We use words to represent the pictures we see in our head.  People we speak to paint a picture in their head based on the words we use.

Many of us don’t use words well.  They’re difficult tools to master.  We’re like a 4 year old creating a finger painting instead of Monet creating a masterpiece.

The result?  Confusion.

Funny … Everyone thinks they’re using words well.  Communicating effectively.  Get married and you’ll find out the truth (It will be humbling).  We break out our thick finger paint and start smearing.   The image emerges from our paint stained fingers.  We wind up with a Rorschach test.  People look at it.  Some find common ground.  Others, divergent views.  The result?  Bland and naive agreement or blind and religious conflict.

A picture’s worth a thousand words.  Some words are worth more than others.

Justice, Equality, Opportunity, Freedom, Liberty, Fairness …  These words are dangerous.

These words represent ideals.  They are abstract concepts.  They are pictures in and of themselves.  Yet they can’t be seen.  No photograph shows what these words look like.  No physical creation can accurately illustrate an ideal.  The result?  Fire and gasoline.

Billions of dollars are spent to paint a picture of these ideals in your head.  This is the stuff of product marketing and political spin doctoring.

These are the words that wars are waged by.  They are the words politicians and political parties use for sleight of hand.  They are the words that turn Bibles into bludgeons.  They are the words that divide us and leave us conquered.

We think in pictures.  A picture’s worth a thousand words.

Do you you believe something that isn’t real?

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