“Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.”

― Hermann Hesse

A life without words

Imagine a life without words. No language. No communication as we have now. Would it be possible? How is it like? Will it benefit us or will everything become bleak?

Words can create and build. A sincere “thank you” acknowledges and nurtures kindness. A baby’s first word makes parents ecstatic. An “I love you” forges and strengthens a couple’s bond. A “sorry” helps to repair wrongs and to repair broken relationships better than not doing anything at all.

Imagine the silence. Imagine not knowing what another thinks. Misunderstanding can already occur now even with words by our side, but imagine what the absence of words can lead to at that.

Yet, words can also destroy and create more havoc than their absence would at times too. “Hate” can induce more enmity. Swear words and expletives lit up fires and encourage more haywire situations. A negative feedback can break one’s spirit, destroy one’s self-worth, and allow one’s dreams to die into oblivion.

Imagine having peace and a break from it all.

With both sides of the equation revealing both advantages and disadvantages, what would you choose? Which way would be better – with or without words?

A life without writing

Imagine life with spoken words but nothing is written at all. Would we be able to remember everything that has been said and done? How could we be “on the same page” about things and life? What do we do to preserve the brilliant ideas conceptualized by those who already made their important discoveries? How could such brilliance be passed on and benefit the rest of us who are elsewhere or are yet to exist in future generations? What if we are unable to speak, how else could we communicate?

Well, there’s also the flip side to the equation like in any other thing. For instance, some would say that the absence of spoken or written words will bring us back to the basics – communicating through our actions. Some would even be adamant that written words are merely superficial and representations of what the truth really is.

Once more, both sides of the argument have their merits as well as downsides. Yet, which path is better – with or without writing?

A life without books

What would a life without books be? Where would you and me be?

Now, those questions should be a no-brainer. Of course!

If we started with the two, then all we did or would do with this post is much ado about nothing. Right?

History and Humanity

Now, going back to Hermann Hesse’s words, what if our lives is devoid of words, writing, and books?

Will there be history at all? Or will human beings come up with a different way of doing things? If we’d be able to come up with a workaround, what would it be?

Will humanity still exist? Or is humanity better off without all these? Would we really be doomed or are we better off in that other plane of possibilities?

Your take

1946 Nobel Prize in Literature recipient and German-Swiss “poet, novelist, and painter” Hermann Hesse had his thoughts on this debacle.

How about you? What do you think? Do you agree with this quote? I’m looking forward to knowing your thoughts.

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By Mum of the Word

I love everything about the written word and my family, and all. I believe.

One thought on “Bookish Quote: What’s life without books?”
  1. We would probably find another way to communicate, perhaps through drawings or music… Because actions, as important as they are, can’t communicate abstract concepts. How do you express, for example, beauty, through actions? The thing is, that music or drawings would end up a language once again. At least, I believe so. It was a fascinating reflection, nonetheless.