"Each one of us is alone in the world. He is shut in a tower of brass, and can communicate with his fellows only by signs, and the signs have no common value, so that their sense is vague and uncertain. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them. We are like people living in a country whose language they know so little that, with all manner of beautiful and profound things to say, they are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual. Their brain is seething with ideas, and they can only tell you that the umbrella of the gardener's aunt is in the house."
--W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence
I must say that I disagree with this statement. Not so much in the obvious truth in the limit of our human tongue, but rather in the lamenting of the nature of man and language. There is deficiency in all things: physical energy is lost wastefully to friction and heat; seeds are produced in masses of thousands so that one may have the chance to live. It is clear that words in their banality degrade meaning and emotion into the very simple signals that this writer speaks of. However the deficiency in our expression is what makes good expression truly great. As the diamond in the rough is prized for its worth, while the diamond in the diamond field is but another diamond, the degradation of our every expression into the mundane whisperings of everyday life ensure that our truest moments are left as opportunities for theatric excellence. Our broken hearts are expressed in tears and writhing mouths, void of any words, but laced with human expression. Our smiles are recognized in every language, dialect, and nation... death and grief just as consoled and understood. The handicap of our tongues to express the majesty of our minds make the poems that move tears from dry eyes, music that move hearts from closed walls, and speeches that move men and women to their feet in inspired unity, truly works of art, a testament to the human spirit despite the shackles of our physical beings and restraints of our simple tongues.
A world where thought was shared in complete and utter understanding would be a more banal world than this. The value of human thought is not in question, but rather the ability to share these thoughts. In a world where all is shared, and nothing expressed, all thoughts would be equal, all ideas understood, and they would all meld and mend into a potpourri of human feeling, no one being more distinct or precious than the others, no one more moving or melancholy than the next. All thoughts would be shared, each one understood, on account of this perfect communication. Why express yourself through poetry, art, music, or deeds, when the feelings of your mind and the intentions of your heart are already known? A world without the need to overcome the barriers of human expression would be a world without the need to be human. Our language limits mankind from ever reaching one another, and inadvertently sears the desire to forever long for one another in consequence. Let our barriers remain, so that we may forever fight to overcome them, and in doing so, live out our humanity.