Our words seem so insignificant in the day to day. We send a zillion texts, have casual chats, throw something up on Instagram…
It all feels light; until it’s not there.
Find yourself in a circumstance where you’re silenced, unheard, and your whole being freaks out. (As it should.)
To understand why, we have to talk a little bit about evolutionary biology and Wittgenstein.
(Plot twist! This is perhaps the only copywriting email in which you’ll ever see those two topics brought up.)
Here’s the deal: our species works for a couple of reasons, but a really big one is our ability to empathize and combine that empathy with technology to spread information very quickly.
Think about it this way: without a way to communicate, we’re all stuck in our own little mind-box. If you’re into philosophy, this is Wittgenstein’s beetle-in-the-box idea. Very long story shortened and simplified, he states that as humans, we’re all limited by our own perspective unable to see beyond the walls of our own little mind-box.
Like beetles stuck in individual boxes, we are limited by the individuality of our consciousness –– I can’t truly experience every facet of your reality, because I’m not you. And, while I assume that what’s going on in your brain is pretty similar to what’s going on in my brain, there’s no real way to know … except via communication.
Thankfully, we’re not actually beetles and we can see beyond our own walls because we can empathize and communicate.
Empathy lets us understand that there are other people on the planet with whom we share universal experiences.
Everyone feels sad sometimes. Everyone knows what it’s like to see a loved one after they’ve been away for a while. Experiences like fear, anger, happiness, desire — they’re universal. And simply by understanding that, we have an immediate point of connection. Empathy alone lets us know that other beetles experience the same things.
But it’s our ability to use that empathy to communicate and spread information that really makes things exciting. Because I can empathize all day long, but if I don’t know how to talk to you about it, I’m still in my own mind-box.
The second we start talking, that’s when the walls of the box fall down and we get to see our fellow beetles.
And that? That’s a miracle.
Think about that for a second.
We do it all the time, we talk to each other, we have people broadcast messages at us, we come out of our mothers attempting to communicate from minute one. The commonality of communication means that we often take it for granted. But it is everything. The chance to get out of yourself, see someone else, and be able to translate the sparkling of your synapses into sparkling in their synapses, that’s an incredible privilege.
That’s the moment that we hear the most important words in the world: you are not alone.
That knowledge that we are not alone, not the only ones stuck in our tiny little worlds, running circles around and around the mind-box until we die, that’s what it’s all about. That’s what it means to be human.
And that’s why this whole communicating your ideas thing is about so much more than it might initially seem.
It’s why your ability to get the word out about your best and brightest matters.
And it’s why I hope you’ll keep sharing what you got.
We all have our conversations to champion.
The word thing is mine.