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When Words Become Violence

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posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 05:30 PM
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When Words

Become Violence


Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
– Proverbs 18:21


I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
– Matthew 12:36–37



Where we once feared beasts, famine, and the dark, we now fear speech, imagery, symbols, and thoughts. Words are violence; statues illicit pain; speech is aggression; and to confront whatever thoughts arise in the midst of something we do not wish to hear is pure, abject torture.

But missing from this torture is any and all forms of injury. Before we criminalize the expression and restrict another’s freedom of thought, we should seriously consider how it is possible that another’s thoughts, whether seen or heard in their crystallized form, is able to injure us. Could the wounds be self-inflicted? Could the stress be self-induced?

Either way, when the suffering cause by words is compared to any example of violence, hardship and suffering throughout human history, the complainant comes off as a whinging milquetoast who has it a thousand times better than anyone who has hitherto suffered—more than enough reason to keep our malady hidden.

I suppose that it is a testament to how far humankind has come, but it also means the sacred line between word and deed is being threatened by the most privileged among us: those so far removed from suffering, absent the pain, torture, injury, starvation, and affliction felt by countless others, that they can only suffer at what amounts to the slightest breeze, since they suffer at nothing else.

In an essay for the New York Times entitled “When is Speech Violence?”, emotional psychologist Lisa Barrett argues that because certain speech can cause stress, and prolonged stress can cause physical harm, certain speech is a form of violence. We should reject such absurdities. But one should take care with the fact that people are asking this question, let alone trying to answer and justify it. With this species of rationalization we are one step closer to censorship and the criminalization of speech.

Johnathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, perhaps seeing the danger in such justifications, wrote a sufficient refutation of Barrett’s claims for The Atlantic. Besides taking issue with Barrett’s logic and her rendering of violence into an unrecognizable caricature of itself, they stressed that teaching children to fear words and expression would weaken them to verbal abuse rather than protect them from it.

Despite all that, they paid little attention to the underlying assumptions of Barett’s arguments, namely, that words can affect anything at all.

Even though there is zero evidence that a word can have any effect beyond the effect of its medium—the effects of the breath on the surroundings or the effects of ink on paper for example—humans must be brainwashed to believe the opposite. And given that the prevalence of this belief is in inverse proportion to its reality, the notion that words can alter human bodies is a superstition.

This superstition has been a compelling piece of casuistry since ancient times. For example, the metaphors are readily apparent in the fragments of the sophist Gorgias, written some time in the 5th century B.C.

“Just as different drugs draw forth different humors from the body – some putting a stop to disease, others to life – so too with words: some cause pain, others joy, some strike fear, some stir the audience to boldness, some benumb and bewitch the soul with evil persuasion”

– Gorgias, Encomium of Helen


There are some critical themes of the sophist’s overestimation of the power of words in Plato and Aristotle, but I believe some degree or other of this species of magical thinking, question begging, and solipsism, has persisted within our metaphors and language for millennia like a dormant virus, without so much of a challenge from religion, natural philosophy, and modern science.

Throughout the ancient world right through to the middle ages—even today—the superstitious have tried, burned, beheaded, and stripped of humanity their fellow human beings for absurdities such as witchcraft, heresy, blasphemy, sorcery and maleficium, all of which are crimes of expression and thought. Socrates was condemned to death for “corrupting the youth”. Galileo was jailed and his writings banned for the crime of holding views different than the church. More recently, a Saudi man was executed for “witchcraft and sorcery” after being found with books and talismans.

It is likely that in most cases, the condemned, like those who condemn them, believed they were indeed manipulating the world and human beings with words, symbols and gestures. People today believe much the same thing.

To answer Barrett’s question, words are never violence. Still I believe this one superstition has given way to a myriad of others, leading the superstitious to justify acts of injustice like genocide, censorship, religious persecution, and terrorism. I believe liberation from this superstition is the antidote, a realization that will ultimately brings us to a new enlightenment. I believe holding the opposite belief—that words do not have power over us, but that we have power over words, an idea so obvious yet so elusive—is the key.

- LesMis


edit on 9-11-2017 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 05:42 PM
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But but but .... if I am fully responsible for how I react to certain words in a certain order, how can I possibly claim to be a victim? Self responsibility and self accountability is hard! Very Hard!! Isn't it just easier to make everyone conform to my own ideals?

/sarc


Great write up LesMisanthrope. Beautiful.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:00 PM
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with violence world wide lowering along with war, and people sitting around, well the energy has to go somewhere.
there's many transgender teens who ended themself after being bullied, primarily through words.
looks like humans are more complex than brainless cavemen, like they can feel
edit on 9-11-2017 by makalit because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:15 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Words inspire actions.

I think that's what people are afraid of.

Words inspire. Words encourage. Words spur actions.


"Stand up against tyranny!" Just 4 words. Just 4 words that can cause a tyrant fear and harm.

If words of love can sooth, could words of hate, enrage?


It seems as if we are held captive by words. We are conditioned to get "triggered" by words.

As a nation, we are calmed by words. Even lies told softly are met with open arms and smiles.





Words, utterances and constructed noise have become our masters and we their slaves.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:19 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope


Before we criminalize the expression and restrict another’s freedom of thought, we should seriously consider how it is possible that another’s thoughts, whether seen or heard in their crystallized form, is able to injure us. Could the wounds be self-inflicted? Could the stress be self-induced?


Bingo! Absolutely!

Just think of all the billions of dollars wasted on self-help books, tapes, and seminars that got us nowhere!



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:25 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Well said as usual Les.




posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:25 PM
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a reply to: DBCowboy


Words inspire actions.

I think that's what people are afraid of.

Words inspire. Words encourage. Words spur actions.


"Stand up against tyranny!" Just 4 words. Just 4 words that can cause a tyrant fear and harm.

If words of love can sooth, could words of hate, enrage?


It seems as if we are held captive by words. We are conditioned to get "triggered" by words.

As a nation, we are calmed by words. Even lies told softly are met with open arms and smiles.

Words, utterances and constructed noise have become our masters and we their slaves.



We have it all backwards. Words are not agents and are incapable of performing actions. They cannot do anything, let alone "encourage", "incite", "seduce", or otherwise manipulate human beings.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:41 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Would you agree that a lot of what and how we are educated appears to be 180 degrees reversed from how this reality operates? Do you think this is just from misguided intentions or do you think it is deliberate?



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:47 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: DBCowboy


Words inspire actions.

I think that's what people are afraid of.

Words inspire. Words encourage. Words spur actions.


"Stand up against tyranny!" Just 4 words. Just 4 words that can cause a tyrant fear and harm.

If words of love can sooth, could words of hate, enrage?


It seems as if we are held captive by words. We are conditioned to get "triggered" by words.

As a nation, we are calmed by words. Even lies told softly are met with open arms and smiles.

Words, utterances and constructed noise have become our masters and we their slaves.



We have it all backwards. Words are not agents and are incapable of performing actions. They cannot do anything, let alone "encourage", "incite", "seduce", or otherwise manipulate human beings.


You are right.

Coherent "noise" shouldn't be able to compel us to do anything.

But our species has become weak and easily manipulated.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:53 PM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: DBCowboy


Words inspire actions.

I think that's what people are afraid of.

Words inspire. Words encourage. Words spur actions.


"Stand up against tyranny!" Just 4 words. Just 4 words that can cause a tyrant fear and harm.

If words of love can sooth, could words of hate, enrage?


It seems as if we are held captive by words. We are conditioned to get "triggered" by words.

As a nation, we are calmed by words. Even lies told softly are met with open arms and smiles.

Words, utterances and constructed noise have become our masters and we their slaves.



We have it all backwards. Words are not agents and are incapable of performing actions. They cannot do anything, let alone "encourage", "incite", "seduce", or otherwise manipulate human beings.


You are right.

Coherent "noise" shouldn't be able to compel us to do anything.

But our species has become weak and easily manipulated.


Actually we've now entered the age of femininity. Did you see along with the other accusations- now Steven Seagull has a report from some misconduct from 20 years ago. And the public is all gonna shame him. We are slowly shaping society to not be able to do anything abusive. We left the masculine age of physical dominance where men were in power, to a new age of femininity where everyone has to nurture, and those that don't get the public shame.

It's an age of feeling, receptivity, it's not about how hard you hit but how soft



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:53 PM
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a reply to: ClovenSky




Would you agree that a lot of what and how we are educated appears to be 180 degrees reversed from how this reality operates? Do you think this is just from misguided intentions or do you think it is deliberate?


I think education teaches us too much of what to think, not how to think. I would argue that if societies adopted something like the trivium in early childhood education, and if we taught children the nature of words and language and how to control our thinking and expression, we wouldn't be so scared of it, especially when we see it in others.

We've been conditioned to seek gratification and security and happiness, not truth and knowledge.

I do not think it is deliberate. People are not smart enough for that.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:58 PM
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a reply to: DBCowboy

Yes, one sound is not more dangerous than the other simply because it is articulated, or put into different combinations.

I think that the metaphor that words have effects is just so ancient, so ingrained in the language, that it is near impossible to do away with it. In a sense it infects our thinking.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:59 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

maybe you just don't feel anything to understand that words do have effect. take our word



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:03 PM
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after all, a word is an expression of how someone else feels
you get the high authority to find out what someone thinks

i mean if you don't have feelings you won't care
but a baby in his mom's arms would care if his mom stopped loving him
if he knew, found out, he would care, all that words can easily convey online, many many a thing.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:08 PM
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i bet if you were in your moms arms and she stopped caring, you would cry
so what's the difference?


was this post aimed at my astrology post?



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:10 PM
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originally posted by: makalit
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

maybe you just don't feel anything to understand that words do have effect. take our word


The problem is that we are all being conditioned to believe that how someone feels about what's being said is more important than the reason for which they are being said.

Once, when I tried to explain something to a friend to help them understand that their actions were hurting them more than helping them, they got offended and told me not to speak to them like that again. It wasn't important that I was trying to show them an aspect of themselves, but that I should know that pointing it out would hurt their feelings, and was more important than my reason for pointing out their flaw.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:12 PM
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Words can start wars...

War = violence.

Therefore, WORDS can cause violence.

Words can be USED as weapons. Blackmail. Sanctions. Ect.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:13 PM
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originally posted by: Deetermined
The problem is that we are all being conditioned to believe that how someone feels about what's being said is more important than the reason for which they are being said.


It's true that that's happening. Whether it's a problem is opinion. Like I said the energies are changing, the past few years it's not about saying what you want, it's about going with the flow of what you should do.
I could be honest with you all now and remark about your intelligences. But I don't.

Cause life is about experiencing. Not about working from what your mind thinks

per your friend it was knowing that someone disapproved of his actions. people can get so destructive that upon finding something like that out, they could smash something. we are living art and the meaning is in every day activity. or we could do as the OP wants and just do nothing like a robot, sounds pretty fun, "ahem, excuse me while i refreshen myself on this boulder."
edit on 9-11-2017 by makalit because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:20 PM
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a reply to: makalit


Cause life is about experiencing. Not about working from what your mind thinks.


Have you ever noticed that for some people, experience isn't always enough? You see people repeating the same mistakes over and over again and their minds just don't get it until you point out the pattern to them. Kind of like our government.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:31 PM
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a reply to: makalit

So all words and verbal speech should be positive? I had always thought the responsibility of a parent was to prepare their offspring for the real world. Maybe by telling children that they can accomplish anything they want and always telling them how good they are isn't very beneficial. Like the horrid idea behind participation trophies. I wonder how the kids raised over the last 10-20 years are doing when faced with reality outside of their parents comforting arms? I have a suspicion that it is doing wonders for pharmaceutical companies bottom lines.

What is so bad about failure? What is so bad about being told you are wrong or that your ideas and ideals aren't shared among the general population? Would it be so bad for people to become individuals and start valuing themselves for who they are instead of valuing how well they are accepted? Can't you see the immense danger of conformity?

Parents should prepare their children for the cold, harsh and marvelous reality that this existence is. That means telling these little hellspawn how wrong they are. You should show disappointment when your children screws up and express a loss of trust. You should be installing a sense of responsibility on children before they leave the nest, forcing them to make their own decisions. If they make the wrong decisions, they should also be held accountable and they should fully embrace their mistakes instead of running away and hiding from them.

I wonder how society is doing as we steadily head away from this direction?



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