7 for all Mankind?

Khalil Gibran once said that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?

If language were reduced to 7 words, would we understand each other then?

When one speaks, the speaker understands what one means, but the listener – does the listener understand the nuance and the intentions behind those words?

We build our understanding of what we see and hear on our own individual experiences. We each think differently, feel differently, experience differently.

There would be room for interpretation in each of those seven words, just as there are in the multitudes we currently use.

When I say hello, do to hear me? Am I welcoming you with my greeting? Or is it said absentmindedly? Do I say hello dismissively, meaning instead “goodbye”, or “please walk on by”?

When I say I am happy, what does this mean to you? Is happy fleeting or is it the essence of me?

If I say I am not happy, is this who I am or is it because of something that has happened? Does it mean I am angry or sad or something else? And do I have the words to explain why? Do you have the words to ask?

Are you my friend or are you not? What is a friend in your experience? Does a friend listen, does a friend support? Does a friend laugh when you laugh and hold your hand when you cry? Is a friend always there for you or are you also there for your friends? Do you have a close circle or do you gather them, tally their numbers, to build your esteem?

How do you tell your friends from those who are not? And what is their assessment of you?

If I refer to life, do I mean mine or yours or a universal truth that connects us all? Perhaps I mean my life, but you may think of it as yours; after all, this conversation is happening in your life, too. And aren’t both lives, mine and yours, wrapped up in the wider existence?

Therefore, if I refer to something that is not life do I mean the end of life, or the infinity before life, or is it something that is not alive, something outside of life? Who am I or you to say whether something has life? We are bound to disagree at some point, and then who is right? And how do we know if we don’t have the words to discuss it?

Love has many faces and many uses. I love chocolate, I love people, I love nature and the wind. Do I love you? Do you love me? Is it a balance or a seesaw, a back and forth, a cause and effect? No. My love is different than yours. But that does not mean that one of us does not love. But can we both understand this? Can we continue to love differently and still understand that we each are loved?

want to say hello. I want to have friends, and to be a friend. I want life. I want love.

Want is, I believe, the only of these 7 words that we can both – speaker and listener – understand equally. Without interpretation, without misinterpretation.

I do not want language to be limited.

I want more than 7 words.

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15 thoughts on “7 for all Mankind?

  1. This is a tough challenge and you have offered a lot of things to think about, for me, particularly when you mention friendship and life…..both are ones I question regularly. I’m with you though, not sure about the 7 word theory and would probably need a few more too!

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