My Writing on Thoughts: My Thoughts on Writing

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Does precise writing stifle creativity?

As a species, we communicate primarily through writing. Literacy has no doubt improved learning, but does the act of translating thoughts into words harden cognition and narrow our creative abilities?

For me, thinking is seldom linear: imagine shmoo-shaped colors, textures, and emotions rubbing, tugging, and mixing in a Bose-Einstein condensate. Somehow, that system produces a communicable idea. 

Whenever someone asks me a question, I immediately have a pinging sensation. Then, somehow I translate that into a response. Ask me again and there’s less pinging, but you’ll get the same or similar response (and perhaps a hint of irritation). It’s like my brain has created a record of the question and a shortcut for me to make thinking easier. 

I shall call it learning.

The problem is that precise writing is rigid. (Ignore creative writing, poetry, and other artful forms for the moment.) So, if we communicate our thoughts primarily with rigid tools, over time our brains create shortcuts and scaffolding that promotes rigid thinking, making things easier.

See the problem?

Thankfully, not all communication is verbal. Artists (as writers categorize them) use movement, imagery, sound, void, touch, emotion, and all sorts of sensory to (as they say) express themselves. So do athletes. (Not so much the mathletes.)

Generally, artists who excel visually, aurally, and spatially come up short linguistically. They’re called “creatives”, and their expressive mediums are far less rigid; but, that doesn’t mean they’re not useful for precise communication. 

But, that’s another post for another day.