Have you ever played charades? It’s a party game that everyone claims to hate but secretly everyone is just waiting for that amazing game to happen when they don’t get only the hardest ones! If you’ve never played, it is a guessing game where one person must act out something without using words at all. The reason this game is difficult is because a lot of words are surprisingly hard to convey by just using physical gestures.
In order to communicate more specific ideas, you’ll need a wider array of communicative signals. The written and spoken method of communication is called language.
Those individuals who were able to communicate could more effectively keep safe from predators and hunt for food. Our ancestors were able to synapse sounds, and eventually written symbols, with significance. The neural clusters of each word are also synapsed with the muscular commands to make the sound or symbol.
Take a moment to think about how ridiculously complex your language center is! Every single word that you know has synapses for recognizing and producing that word as well as synapses to significance and anything else that has joined the cluster.
The collection of all word clusters is called your vocabulary. Even if you think you don’t know a lot of words, you know a ton of words and most of them are organized in the same region of the brain. When you consider your vast vocabulary and your understanding of grammar rules, quite a bit of resources need to be allocated to the language center in order to even speak at all. And we haven’t even mentioned all the resources needed by the mental plane to interpret the conversation and decide what to say next before you create your response.
Alcohol negatively affects your speech because fewer resources are available to be allocated to the language center. It’s also why you have the ability to think much faster than you can speak or write, fewer neural paths are needed for your wordless ideas to synapse.
With enough solidification, the neural paths to the language center can become automated. Automated language neural paths give you the ability to speak much quicker, since you can allocate the consciousness to deciding what to say next instead of focusing on how to speak each word. Automation also allows you access to the language center while the consciousness is in the mental plane. You are probably aware of this sensation as your inner voice or “internal monologue.”
Have you ever had a thought out of the blue and felt that it was almost a foreign voice telling you the thought? Sometimes a neural path can be stimulated even away from the consciousness if it is synapsed to something or there is some leftover neurotransmitter.
An automated language center also means that you have the ability to translate those random neural firings into words. Think about how awesome that is! We have created a system not only to exchange ideas between multiple humans but we can use it to communicate with ourselves!
We are very resourceful creatures; give us a tool and we will manipulate it until it fills all our needs. The tool here was the ability to synapse intention to words, signals that can be reproduced in multiple contexts. Every time you write, speak, or even think while using your language, I hope you think about the amazingly complex processes that are happening without conscious effort. Talking is easy after enough practice, it makes you wonder, what else can you automate?