Do We Think in Words?

Molecular ThoughtsIn the known universe it is estimated that there are around a septillion stars which in numerical form looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 and if we cut that number in half then we get the number of connections in our brain. Yes that is a lot of connections. The Human Brain is a mighty almost magic like piece of equipment that weighs in at around 3 pounds and is lit up with around 100 billion neurons. It takes a measly 12 watts to run the brain, a fifth of the power that is needed in order to run a standard lightbulb.

It is incredible efficient and incredible complex.

The brain is the source of our thoughts and it operates our whole body safety from within the confines of our skull. It is pulsing with activity because of the massive amount of processes that it undertakes on a second by second basis such as creating emotional responses to things we encounter while also allowing us to think about what we are going to make our family for dinner.

Although there is so much the brain is doing much of what it does is done under the radar and without our having to actively think about it, for example keeping our heart beating and our eyes blinking. We do not think about doing those things they are just done for us.

But there are still lots of things that we do actively think about and conceptualize throughout the day as we interact with the world around us. On average we have about 60,000 thoughts per day. Some thoughts are large while others are dismissed almost immediately.  But for all of these thoughts entering our mind are we thinking them in words and language?

Take a second to think about something. It can be any kind of thought. Now when you are thinking what do the thoughts seem to be within your mind? Are they words and language or something else? You probably would think words because that is how they appear to be within our minds, but when it comes to our thoughts we are actually thinking in ideas and meanings also called semantics. Semantics are the relationship between symbols and their intended meaning, in this case the words and their meaning.

But how do we know we don’t think in words?

If you think about a baby or another non-language creature like animals they both have higher thought and can perform tasks but neither has language at its disposal so they cannot be thinking in words. Their thoughts would be ideas which are not represented by words like ours because they do not have that faculty.

This can also go further by looking at the origins of language. Language itself has not always been in existence but was rather made and designed in order to facilitate communicate and interaction. Therefore, our long lost brethren would have needed thought processing separate from language in order to create and build a language from the ground up like they did.

From the moment we wake to the moment we sleep and everywhere in between our brains are putting on a light show with all the neurons and synapses firing away in the different parts of our brains. We are always thinking but not in words or in language but in ideas and semantics. These ideas help us do incredible things like imagine and then build what we imagine into reality. The brain is a magic and somewhat mysterious place but now we know a little more about it.

Thanks for reading this week’s post! What do you think is the most amazing fact about the brain? If you have any other comments or ideas for future topics please comment in the box below.

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