Speech for most people fortunate enough to possess it is largely underrated as we’re so accustomed to having freedom over our own tongues. Did you know, the average human speaks approximately seven thousand words a day? Yet most people usually can’t remember what they said in their first conversation of the morning. Speech is just as precious as sight or hearing in my opinion because it is the most primitive tool we use to communicate with our species, even cavemen back in the stone age, though no where near as prim and proper as we are now did in fact use speech when necessary in the form of grunts and other assorted noises to give commands, assert dominance, or settle disputes over food and etcetera. But I ask you this friends, what were to happen if we couldn’t talk?
Obviously it wouldn’t be the end of the world right away as we can write down what we need to say through text and writing things down on paper( assuming you aren’t illiterate as well as mute) but the matter still stands. Would you truly think before you speak? Let’s say for the sake of argument similar to a credit card you were given a limit as to how much you could say each and every day, and if this limit was extended there were real, dangerous consequences. Sounds like something out of a future dystopian book right? All with me thus far?
I know at least in my case I’d be keeping my mouth shut as much as possible to save up, which wouldn’t be too difficult as I’m an introvert and am fine with being alone and keeping words off my lips. But for the extroverts out there reading this you could be thinking having to do such a thing would be near impossible as your kind can’t bear to not be socializing every five minutes with friends and classmates. Of course this is all hypothetical, a big if, but I ask all the same, would such a restriction bother you? How long would your cool-as-a-cucumber act hold up? How long would I have to push your mind until such a challenge ate away at you, made you crack and splinter inside until the pressure of having to control a once trivial thing, became an unconquerable burden? And when you attempted, ask yourself this question, how would your speech habits alter?
Every peep out of your pie hole would need to be meaningful and useful, otherwise you’d be wasting a precious resource you may need urgently at a later date. If there was a digital floating number tally atop of your head, deducting every single word, from one hundred to one, I don’t think statements like “how’s your day going?” or “what do you think of today’s outfit on me?” would be in the cards anymore. Each card would have to be played smart. How I could see society crumble from that, picture it, Mr. President in his big chair at the white house front desk having the secret service around him, not to protect him from a foreign threat but to tell him when to shut up on the phone! Hah! Can you taste the irony in that.
And now I just have one last inquiry. If someone were to give you two more minutes of speech before they turned off your mic forever, what would you do with it? Be honest, don’t be impressioned by someone else’s last words, what would you, as an individual, have to say in your last audible farewell to the world? Maybe something profound and beautiful or have a session of gibberish to savor before the talking switch was flipped to get it all out of your system? If you had to make the choice of going out in style or telling your parents you love them, are you picking a or b? Could you selflessly give your final say to another for the sake of love? I don’t fully know, and you might not either but that’s okay, self-preservation, even only in words, is in all of our codes.
I’m not asking anyone reading this to take an oath of silence or anything crazy, but I’m throwing the idea out there. How great do you value your words? Perhaps if you’re a trier you’ll consider my opposition- limit your word bank, for a day, for an hour, for a minute, I don’t care but do it for that short amount of time and see how your perspective shifts. You may just start seeing the world differently by that brief moment of self-diminution. Have the one hundred word nightmare a mute person will dream the rest of their life and watch. By dropping all this weight on your thoughts and more importantly mouth, I feel it’s only fitting to leave my writing off with the following sentence. A question so small compared to the big picture it would look like a single thread in a tapestry. What do you have to say now?