Words are More Powerful than Pictures

This “algebraic” flexibility of a word encapsulates the essence of something while leaving unnecessary concretes out. A photo doesn’t and can’t. Further, a word offers enormous flexibility in terms of input/output. It can be spoken, thought, gestured (as in sign language), written, grammatically combined with other words, or stored with very little memory. A photo can’t. Words are altered by syntax and grammatical endings. A photo can’t be modified in this way, other than the temporal sequence in which a series of photos are viewed. As Aristotle proved in the Organon, words can be logically combined into propositions, arguments, premises, and conclusions. Finally, a word can be metaphoric, thus opening up mental “portals” and integrating elements through induction. A photo can’t.

For instance, the phonetic person uses the noun “market” as a placeholder for any market, leaving the decision of which market for a later thought. But the concrete-bound visual person must picture a specific market. Imagine what this means if she actually tried to come to a decision without using any words. She would have to run a video in her head of every possible means of transport going to each possible destination. If selecting between three modes of travel and three possible destinations, she would have to watch nine films, recall the details of each one, and then choose among them, making all the decisions at the same time. Add just a few more variables, and the human head would run out of memory space (video is a memory hog). But a phonetic person would think: “I should go to the market today. Maybe that new one I haven’t tried yet. But I’ll take the car, since the forecast is for snow.” This leads to three reasoned decisions, made one after the other, with almost unlimited syntactic variability! This is because every word is an economy of thought worth a thousand pictures.


Folksonomies: communication

/science/mathematics/arithmetic (0.726407)
/family and parenting/children (0.715764)
/technology and computing/hardware/computer components (0.707175)

Logic (0.981832): dbpedia_resource
Linguistics (0.722075): dbpedia_resource
Language (0.693256): dbpedia_resource
Syntax (0.689590): dbpedia_resource
Grammar (0.649236): dbpedia_resource
Verb (0.645993): dbpedia_resource
Phrase (0.624758): dbpedia_resource
Reasoning (0.602872): dbpedia_resource

 A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Eklund, Phil (February 3, 2015), A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures, Entropy Magazine, Retrieved on 2019-11-08
  • Source Material [entropymag.org]
  • Folksonomies: communication