Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Words may convey unintended results

By words the mind is winged.
- Aristophanes, dramatist (c. 448-385 BCE)

As well, the mind may be imprisoned.

We create worlds based on the words we hear from others and the words we speak to ourselves in our thoughts. These worlds may not be similar to the worlds of those who are closest to us, those who have experienced the same words.

Words shape our thoughts, our interpretation of words lends shade and nuance to those thoughts and the worlds we create from them for ourselves. Someone may become our enemy, for example, based not on the words that person says (as they were intended) but by our interpretation of those words.

Whenever we are in any doubt as to the meaning of words we hear or read, we would be wise to ask the user of those words to explain their meaning further. Whenever words we hear are hurtful, our first reaction should be to question whether the speaker intended them to be hurtful or simply used the wrong words to convey a thought.

Otherwise we may create false worlds that could result in fear, discomfort, even alienation for ourselves.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to encourage people to ask when the meaning of words they hear or read is in doubt, to avoid causing self-hurt.
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