We tend to think in symbols, usually in words. We shape our thoughts into phrases and sentences as a way of rehearsing what we’re going to say. But even when we have no intention of speaking, even when there’s no one else around, the habit persists and the internal monologue goes on. The mind always seems to have something to say. Language and thought have co-evolved in humans for so long that they are now inseparable. Thought has shaped the way we speak, and language has shaped the way we think.
Language was a game changer. It ushered in a whole new way of thinking, a whole new way of being. Language pushed our species over a tipping point between the symbol-sparse world of animals and symbol-rich world of civilization, connecting minds to other minds and transforming the miracle of consciousness into the miracle of culture.
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