Did it ever occur to you why there are so many different languages which people speak? How did they form and why are they so different? And most importantly, how do languages affect our thoughts and thinking process in general? Many years ago I was amazed by the novel Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany. It really made me think about differences in human languages and their influence on our behavior. If you have not read this novel you definitely should. It tries to answer the question of how strong are the ties between language and thinking and elucidates the hypothesis of very strong interrelation of word and thought.
Why would I write about this? I was reminded of this by post on creative thinking from Presentation Zen. Summarizing psychologist and physician Dr. Edward de Bono's theory of Six Thinking Hats Garr Reynolds says:
People are reluctant to be creative out of fear of making "a mistake." Problem is (at least in the English language) we don't have a good word to describe creative ideas that just don't work...except to call them "mistakes." That is, we do not have a good word for this: "Fully justified venture which for reasons beyond our control did not succeed." If you do not succeed with your creative idea this is called a "mistake." And people generally like to avoid "mistakes." (We need a better word!)
How truthful this is! We are very social beings and we always care about what others say. Not having an adequate way of naming creative misleads(?) we are not able to perceive them correctly and express without unnecessary negative shade. Here we are once again caught in a labyrinth of the form (words, language) and the meaning (thoughts, feelings). But being aware of the problem we've got to find a way out.
There has got to be a way out.