"Information will never replace illumination." Susan Sontag asserted in considering the conscience of words. "Words are events, they do things, change things," Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in the same era in her exquisite meditation on the magic of real human communication. "They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it." But what happens when words are stripped of their humanity, fed into unfeeling machines, and used as currencies of information that no longer illuminates?
Thanks to language, ideas are not just abstracted and combined inside the head of a single thinker but can be pooled across a community of thinkers. Thomas Jefferson explained the power of language with the help of an analogy: "He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper of mine, receives light without darkening me."