Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Language Limits Our Control

"Language has the interesting property of being able to increase and decrease our perceptions of control. We aren't very aware of how language limits our control." - Ellen Langer, On Becoming An Artist (Page 205).

All too often, our mouths are engaged at a high rate of speed as we fail to stop and listen to what is either being said to us or what we are saying to others. My mother used to have a good saying that we have two ears and one mouth. We should use them appropriately. Yet, as humans, we feel it is our necessity and our right to expound to everyone what we think the situation should be of whatever we are addressing. We fail to stop and consider all facets of the equation.

The internet has brought us further into the deep recesses of communication that is not helping to advance the cause of humanity. For it is too easy for people to just read something the screen and begin typing a response without even taking a moment to think about it. If you don't follow me, just take any news article posted on the internet and see the comments that immediately follow. It doesn't take but a minute to begin seeing the behavior I am talking about. And how many times do we do this in our own lives? We may feel proud that we do not do the same as others do in this regards but I'll be willing to bet that at some point during your day, you do the same through emails or other ways. Regardless if you agree or disagree, try to monitor a day in your life and see just how much this rings true. If you have to, monitor it for a week.

The one thing I find so disturbing in our world and culture is that everyone feels their opinion and view is valid no matter what. They will defend that to the end. It is great to have beliefs and view points and to state these but so many times, we just need to stop and listen. Imagine for a moment, that the news stations with all the talking pundits would go silent? How would that change our day, our lives and our world, or would it? Have you ever stopped to consider just how much these talking pundits (regardless of political beliefs) are influencing each person's life through a medium that has us mindlessly engaged rather than mindfully engaged? Think about that for a minute and see if you can connect with it.

Our language is powerful. We have so many inflections for the same word in our language. How we use those words can either better us as individuals and as a culture, or it can continue to degrade us into the depths we are traveling towards. It is our choice of course in what direction we choose to travel. Yet, our choice impacts the greater good of humanity it ways that seem so insignificant.

May our words bring about the highest good for everyone we meet, including ourselves.

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