wikiHow to Explore Words and Live Beyond Them

There are times it seems we live off of, live with and cannot seem to live without words. Language is slightly different to words, although certainly connected. Language is used as a term to group a collection of words, as well used as a way to identify other communities of people. But words are, surprisingly, one of those things that can only take you so far and actually hinder both expression, creativity, our ability to connect with other people and understanding the greater dynamic of the mind to be able to pave a way for better well being.

Deeper insight can occur without words; this article focuses on not only how you can explore how words work, but also live beyond them.


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    Determine when and where words are used. As a basic starter, words are often used primarily to identify or label things, and then to describe and communicate these things both to ourselves and other people. Yet, the word is not the thing; the use of words is about being able to share an "idea" or feeling of the thing with others, the words linking us with the object existing in the world and the concept in our mind. But there are many other uses for words, such as sharing an abstract idea with others (like globalization) or to explain our relationship to people or objects, in a code form to be able to talk about subjects secretively and many others so try to explore those uses too. Consider also what makes you want to break out into words.
    • The immediate point of exploring the usage of words is that words don't need to be used all the time. We might say "It's a tomato" but the word tomato is not actually the thing, it's just a label and indeed many languages have different labels. We give and gain emotions with words in many cases, such as the word love, but love is far more than words, as are all the other feelings and ideas.
    • Sometimes the use of words may be used to modify other feelings. We may vent our anger by expressing with words and the amount of intention or stress of those words, while studies have shown that we can tolerate pain longer by using very strong words. The frequency or selection of words often can be chosen by neural pathways - if we use a word a lot it is virtually a mental habit, but there are cases where we get an emotional or biological response by selecting words.
    • Sometimes the use of words can confuse and obfuscate the point being made because we have differing perceptions dependent on the words used. Consider, for example, cross-cultural exchanges of words with speakers who have many words for rain (the Celtic Irish), many words for water (the Hopi) or many words for cooking the same food item (the Japanese). There are also many languages where words may have a gender of its own, or to be used only by certain genders, changing subtly or largely for the opposite sex. In these cases, the words used can give rise to very different perceptions dependent on the speaker's and listener's viewpoint. Words have allowed these cultures to be far more specific and descriptive on one level, but at the same time can prevent communication more broadly.
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    Test to see how you react to words. We also instill words with emotions but frequently, the word can act as a prompt in the brain to generate the same feeling, and vice versa, the mind reacts first which prompts a common word to express that feeling. Many words create an instant feeling, such as "violent" or "cozy" or "delicious". Words actually prompt the mind to feel something in our body. Sometimes the misuse, pronunciation, incorrect spelling (in writing) or grammar of words may affect people to quite a high extent.
    • A simple example was if you read "the article was about how to do something" but a tiny change to: "the article was about who to do something" it suddenly makes no sense and is confusing, or "the article was about how to do Something" now can have a hugely different meaning - simply with one letter out of place or changed. "about the article was something how to do", strictly speaking has no changes at all, except their order. Consequently, words can make a subtle effect when the words aren't quite the same and can make a further effect if they are in bold, italics or underlined.
    • Try this simple test to see how the mind reacts to word groups. Examine some of the following word groups and see if they create any feelings or thoughts in you. 1. "Different, weird, foreign," 2. "Famous, fashionable, exclusive." 3. "Yellow, simple, weather". What do you feel about these words?

      Now, add another word of your own choosing to those groups, did that change the associated feeling, or did you pick another word that meant the same, so the feeling stayed the same? The third group it is likely you would have felt confused and thought about a connection word to try to combine the others to make sense. Did the various feelings just happen on their own, or did the words prompt the mind to make those feelings?

      If you found that they had no effect on you at all, try thinking about words that scare you, or that make you want something. Write them down and consider why those words made you feel anything. They are just bunches of letters and sounds after all, so what is it that makes you react to them?
    • A similar application example is that a person might label another person by their culture, age, gender, lifestyle, belief system (etc) and become uncomfortable about them, if not outright hostile. They might be perfectly ordinary and friendly people that in circumstances where no words have been spoken, one would be fine with this person, but suddenly that label causes an uncomfortable feeling to arise and words become objects (and, consequently identifiers) of prejudice and bias. The word itself has become an expression and a symbol of ill will and there can be further dislike and distrust complications, occasionally due to mis-interpreted words. It also works in the reverse––labels can make a person seem more attractive and interesting and we can feel a sense of desire or respect towards those who certain labels are attributed to.
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    Consider that we can be controlled or manipulated by words. There is even a proper term known as "neuro-linguistic programming" (NLP), which can sometimes be very effective with both positive and harmful results. An example is we often are taught at an early age to avoid placing certain things in our mouths as they may be poisonous or a choke hazard which is a positive example, but it might affect us later, so after being told (for example) to avoid red berries, when confronted with a tray of strawberries and red-currants that we are likely to feel doubt as to if they are safe to eat. Many background examples come from our family, friends (etc) and often by external advertisers. This programming when we are young prompts us to act when older. It is used very often in politics with negative campaigning to try to prevent the opponent being elected by focusing on their faults to prompt fear or loathing in the public. Likewise in a debate, it is considered essential to not only convince people effectively with words, but important strategically to move them towards the key point the debater wishes to make. It's important to consider that its not always the events or things that worry us or cause us problems, but our mental opinions of them (words again) that cause us more stress. Some words in the mind make us feel angry and can be used by others deliberately or unconsciously to inflame or frustrate us, make us sad, confused or ashamed where if we had the choice, they wouldn't be happening. Some people may live in fear of words or being branded with them, such as the words "failure", "dumb", "useless" (etc). Look for obsessions with certain words that you might have. There are schools of thought, philosophy and political ideology that are obsessed or addicted with specific words, which can be a hindrance to communication and looking beyond the scope to see what's really happening. Words are used to classify things or to lend identity, status and belonging, but this has its disadvantages. It ultimately is important to explore how we can be manipulated by words, but not just by others, but positively by our own minds. The mind uses words or phrases repeatedly to reinforce an assumption or belief, often what happens is after a long time we accept it as true without ever considering if it may not be. Therefore; it is important to see why it needs to reinforce something, for if the assumption was true, then it would be evident. Very often the mind is misleading us, or we are misleading ourselves because we want to believe something.
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    Look at the levels words take. Some are functional words such as kitchen, pencil, walking, and so forth, which don't create much resonance with you, but some very selective words can provoke feeling. There are many areas that focus on taking advantage of your responses to words, mostly found in marketing. Words are often more effective when used in rhymes or associated mnemonics that can aid memory. Try to spot words or the way words are structured and selected to prompt you to feel or act a certain way. Advertising and public relations (for example) tend to have very high levels of research to select words effectively. It may be a rhyme or "jingle", or a catchphrase, as well as the speaker's accent, tone and speed, that will entice you most to want to buy their product, remember their firm when you need equipment service or repairs or even to elect their politician. What is it about these words and how they are used that makes you want to buy or alternatively annoy/spur you enough into doing something? Words ultimately are used by us as individuals as a support, foundation or component part of our identity that we use to reinforce our opinion of ourselves. A young teenager wouldn't want to be seen using words used by older people, or used by more intellectual people who aren't "cool" (another key word that is very important to people). The problem is when we become attached to words or certain words and forget that while the word is not the thing, words as symbols and tools effectively can use, abuse and control us because we value them and their meaning too highly.
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    Consider how words help you and can be not only useful, but beautiful. The goal here is not to destroy words utterly. There is beautiful poetry and knowledge also expressed in words, which we would be at a loss without. It is currently considered more or less impossible in dealing with everyday life to be without words, and language is an amazing, if imperfect thing. But words are something that we make in order to describe, identify or express what we see, feel, smell and so on. Endeavor to find out why words are such useful tools, particularly in the context of your daily life. It is wise to consider in an educational context that words in a lesson, or the key message of a lesson only sinks in when it is relevant to a person. Often to get a major insight or moment when the penny drops and everything makes sense is when the right words are used at the right time and in the right order. Often a teacher may be pressing an important life message, or a trainer teaching a new employee safety techniques but it never sinks in when the listener or reader is not paying attention because the subject is not relevant or interesting at the time to be relevant. Words can be very effective when used wisely for impact by considering how to make the lesson strike relevance in the individual. The goal for educators is therefore to measure against their own experiences to find out what makes the subject interesting to themselves, but also to see what does the student actually want and need? When the teacher understands themselves better, they improve their ability to instruct a student better and by using words far more effectively be a better educator.
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    Explore the mental world of words. Ask yourself when you are having a long thought chain, "Am I making or using these words? Are there cases where words happen randomly or in a pattern on their own?"

    The answer is quite surprising if you examine your thoughts for long enough because words may be used as a pacifier, a distraction, or a way to keep you engaged over a subject, even if it causes you to feel stressed. Likewise the big question, "Can I understand things without words?" A big part of maturing or developing is consciously thinking without using the labels we are comfortable with, or uncomfortable with.

    try to explore the world without words. Can you understand something just by seeing or hearing it, experiencing without mentally describing, or having a running mental commentary? Experiment with this when feeling an emotion or seeing a scene, try not to describe it, but just let the emotion be and explore it, but explore it without words. While a person may say observe it in its pure form, the very word "pure" is another keyword that will affect that way you perceive things, so likewise should be put aside for this experiment. Use your other senses and see what effect they make.

    When a word inevitably comes to mind, take a moment and replace it with an expanded understanding, and note where the word might have failed you. this can be particularly effective with generalities, like bad, good, etc. Also try physical feelings, just let them be and see what is happening. If words aren't helpful, then let them go in the same way that you would let go of a heavy bag. You might find that without the words, you might feel and see things more clearly, which helps to lead to a far richer understanding.
    • Language is constantly changing and developing. When this becomes apparent you can see that actually life and the world has always operated pretty well without words.
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    Look at everything again for the first time without using words. See how much more you can explore life without them. Everything becomes new again; every image will be subtly different, every sound is different and so on because you are able to expand your mind and gain more from the experience - you can see more of the finer details and how much of the vast world we live in that we miss on a daily basis. You can reduce the amount of words you use when it is to your advantage, and see beyond them.


  • This article is actually a self reflective example of how you can experiment for yourself. For example, after you have read this article, write down what you think or feel then re-read the article but far more closely. Compare your results and see if it made a difference. You may be surprised that you have skimmed over words or chunks of text that didn't seem relevant to you at the time, but your feelings may change when you have made a more deliberate study as certain hidden key-words used liberally and deliberately in this article will prompt you to feel certain ways at certain times.

    It would not be unusual if you now feel concerned at this point that perhaps this article has perhaps been written to manipulate you somehow. This is where it become important to study. Rest assured, this article has not been written to harm or manipulate people, but the use of words can stoke fear, paranoia and many other emotions. The word "certain" "hidden", "deliberately" and "will" were keywords in that last paragraph that can create effects.

    The question simply is - Should we give words that kind of power to affect us this way? The power only ever comes from us, it is what we give it.

    Exploring words and moving beyond them has a whole lot of advantages apart from using this exercise as a way to improve understanding––it is a key way to see the way we work and interact both with ourselves and other people. When we can see how we are affected we can then choose to be less vulnerable to their affect and find ways to improve our creativity and well being.

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