We live in age of talk, talk, talk and the unbridled, constant avalanche of words that we face on the page or screen, and that we hear every second of every day. The sources include talk radio and talk TV, Skype and phones, and every social network where words are currency as posts, tweets, and the next new thing where words come cheap. It is worth taking a look at Jonathan Swift and something he wrote 234 years ago. Read carefully. Think that the attitude we have toward some things never changes.
Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World (1776) By Jonathan Swift
“Part III, Chapter V:
The Grand Academy of LagadoWe next went to the school of languages, where three professors sat in consultation upon improving that of their own country.The first project was to shorten discourse by cutting polysyllables into one, and leaving out verbs and participles, because in reality all things imaginable are but nouns.
The other project was a scheme for entirely abolishing all words whatsoever, and this was urged as a great advantage in point of health as well as brevity. For it is plain that every word we speak is in some degree a diminution of our lungs by corrosion and consequently contributes to the shortening of our lives. An expedient was therefore offered, that since words are only names of things, it would be more convenient for all men to carry about them such things as were necessary to express the particular business they are to discourse on. And this invention would certainly have taken place, to the great ease as well as health of the subject, if the women, in connection with the vulgar and illiterate, had not threatened to raise a rebellion, unless they might be allowed the liberty to speak with their tongues, after the manner of their ancestors; such constant irreconcilable enemies to science are the common people. However, many of the most learned and wise adhere to the new scheme of expressing themselves by things, which hath only this inconvenience attending it, that if a man’s business be very great, and of various kinds he must be obliged in proportion to carry a greater bundle of things upon his back, unless he can afford one or two strong servants to attend him. I have often beheld two of those sages almost sinking under the weight of their packs, like two pedlars among us; who when they met in the streets, would lay down their loads, open their sacks, and hold conversation for an hour together’ then put up their implements, help each other to resume their burthens, and take their leave.
But for short conversations a man may carry implements in his pockets and under his arms, enough to supply him, and in is house he cannot be at a loss. Therefore the room where company meet who practice this art, is full of all things ready at hand, requisite to furnish matter for this kind of artificial converse.”