I propose we each carry a purse containing threads with small clips fastened at each end. One end of each thread would be attached to the inside of the purse, and the other would be clipped in passing to objects and people we expect might be relevant later on. Over time we would each amass tens of thousands of these clipped threads, both issuing from our purses and clipped to our person and personal effects by others.

Provided the threads are sufficiently long and robust and numerous, instead of speaking we could physically tug at the things we wish to denote and finally abandon language once and for all.

Admittedly communication would proceed painstakingly. There would be no grammar of course, and I should add that I disprefer the development of any standardized ‘tug order’ because it smacks of iconicity from which it’s only a short step to fully blown representational grammar and the end of all our extralinguistic efforts. Not least because of this constraint, it would take almost insurmountable imaginative leaps to express causal and temporal forms and abstract ideas and using only personally clipped concrete nouns. Moreover, interpersonal communication would depend on each interlocutor having happened to clip a thread to the very same instance of an object in such a way that a tug by one might be felt by the other. Such tugs would continually risk intercepting the threads of unrelated interlocutors any distance away as they pick through the thick webs of thread that would gradually engulf areas of the world populated by people and things within reach of thread. Because of the need to wade through networks of threads without snapping or dislodging any of them, it would be difficult to move even short distances at any speed, though even these slow movements would suffice to keep the web in continual movement.

Nevertheless I would think these obvious communicative drawbacks are far offset by the clear gain to be made by finally outmanoeuvring the grip of language upon on our order of reality.

NOTES: Any purse or bag will do provided it can be securely fastened to the body and carried about at all times. Clips like these are available inexpensively and in bulk, and their swivelling hooks facilitate movement in any direction from the clipped object. Dental floss is ideal for both its strength and its convenient dispenser, though nylon threads like these are longer and less costly.

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