Words signify a consciousness, of which a newborn or pet can only hear. The baby goes on to learn the language of memes and communicates with itself while your dog relies on its own form of internal narrative.
There is some form of mental awareness in all creatures. A body without a brain contains zero working neurons and a dead narrative.
Words are a different animal than pictures, perhaps the most effective at harvesting attention; humans use words to propagandize, market, deceive and spread evil. Said Nikola Tesla: “If hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world.”
Words are sensory stimulants, carving out emotions for which both the bad and good stuff sticks. “Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words,” wrote William Faulkner in 1927.
We invent words because we don’t want to die. Yet it is their existence that poses the most threat to consciousness.