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The False Tyranny of Words

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posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 06:59 PM
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Some people were once certain that black cats were demonic, bad luck, or in some way associated with witches and sorcerers. This wasn’t true, of course, but the very belief in the untrue would lead to the behavior that followed. They would often torture and kill the innocent felines, and sometimes their owners with them.

We have come a long way since then. But the superstitious tendencies in human beings still linger.

In more sophisticated times—today—there are de facto sorcery or witchcraft laws in the free world, and not just in backwards countries. Some free societies have banned “hate speech” just as the more closed societies have banned “blasphemy” and “apostasy”, and for the exact same reasons. The underlying implications are that certain words, if uttered a certain way, produce negative effects on society, on human beings, as if one was uttering magic spells. The UK, for example, has criminalized words that are “threatening”, “abusive” and “insulting”. Though free speech is the cure for violence, they’ve turned speech into violence. In short, a large segment of the population believes certain speech and symbols can cause physical harm in human beings, and that making those symbols unutterable .

But in order to believe that, they must also believe that certain visual and audible symbols, so long as they are configured and expressed in a certain way, can have physical effects on human body and human societies. And to believe that, they would also need to believe that certain visual and audible symbols, expressed as articulated sounds, groups of pixels, scratches, marks or ink on paper, can manipulate human biology from afar—spooky action at a distance.

These underlying implications pose a problem. I concede that there may very well be some field or quantum entanglements that are not yet known. Or, applying Occam’s razor, it may just be another case of misplaced blame, a superstition, where the superstition man turns language he does not like into the scapegoat of his pain and misfortune, like an innocent black cat.

American linguist and cognitive scientist George Lakoff believes such a theory. Here is a linguist, a professor who wrote the famous book “Metaphors we Live By”, and who is an accomplished cognitive scientist able to provide masterful explanations of the embodied theory of cognition, but who also suggests the notion that words can manipulate living beings like magic spells. He reasons it as such:


“The imposition on the freedom of others can come in overt, immediate physical form — thugs coming to attack with weapons. Violence may be a kind of expression, but it certainly is not “free speech.

Like violence, hate speech can also be a physical imposition on the freedom of others. That is because language has a psychological effect imposed physically — on the neural system, with long-term crippling effects.”

Why hate speech is not free speech


Other commentators have endorsed the same reasoning.

Lakoff and others believe speech can manipulate the neural system, that you and I are able to impose, through words, “psychological effects” on one another’s biology, resulting in “long-term crippling effects”. These “psychological effects” are quite limited in scope. For instance though some speech is considered by Lakoff et al as a “physical imposition on the freedom of others”, we cannot use this speech to literally impose on someone’s freedom, as if jailing a criminal. Though “language has a psychological effect imposed physically”, and with “long term crippling effects”, it would never be used as method of torture, or in a lieu of a weapon.

The implications of this proposition is either profound, or profoundly absurd. The very notion makes it sound as if some dangerous property of speech is able to travel through the air (even through time) from the speaker to a listener, sneak past all immune system defences undetected, and impose itself physically upon the neural system. Maybe the word itself (so long as the syllables are in certain combinations constituting something called “hate speech”) is able to complete its imposition upon the neural system, ultimately settling in the brain where it damages tissue by pure, brute force.

We’ve all been verbally abused in one way or another, and imagined ourselves affected by it. But is the speech the true cause of any subsequent anxieties and stress? As a corollary, do banning words and hate speech alleviate the conditions that ultimately lead to these symptoms?

No.

According to the transactional model of stress, if you do not perceive the stressor as a threat, but as a challenge or an opportunity for improvement or to learn, one will not be as stressed by it. By understanding language, rhetoric, logic, grammar, etc., and to finally come to the realization that not only do words do not hurt, they cannot hurt, one can also learn to overcome the tyranny of words which she ultimate places on herself.

Censorship only inhibits all problems hitherto blamed on speech. It teaches one to be thin-skinned, weakened, and disarmed when finally confronted by speech she would not otherwise like to hear. She will not know how to argue, how to disprove, how to refute what she might deem hateful or wrong. Censorship exasperates the superstition of words, makes her fearful of hearing expressions she does not like, and cripples her confidence in her language faculties, only exasperating stress. It leaves her ignorant, not only of what might have been said, but also of who might have said it. Censorship teaches her censorship, and thus authoritarianism, totalitarianism, leading to fear of the unsaid and unsayable, ultimately culminating in abject dogmatism and bigotry, which is always the censor’s end game.

And the words? They are wholly innocent. They are the only tools we have to symbolize, to make real our thoughts so that others may see them. We cannot let anyone have the power to inhibit that.




posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:18 PM
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Rubbish!

Hate speech is about incitement..inciting others to do the dirty work, fake news used in the same way, (and we have plenty of that here at ATS) can do the same thing.
In the same way, articles with headings that mislead in the heading, while the article itself is inconclusive, do the same thing.
Dammit, I do think Milos has even realised that, he has become very polite lately...in fact I haven't heard a word from him this weather.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:30 PM
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originally posted by: smurfy
Rubbish!

Hate speech is about incitement..inciting others to do the dirty work, fake news used in the same way, (and we have plenty of that here at ATS) can do the same thing.
In the same way, articles with headings that mislead in the heading, while the article itself is inconclusive, do the same thing.
Dammit, I do think Milos has even realised that, he has become very polite lately...in fact I haven't heard a word from him this weather.


I believe you miss the point. Hate speech can be an incitement...if one doesn't fully understand 'words'. One can fear, react to the dark as a child and grows out of that fear-usually- as one understands the dark. Yes?

The mere belief that words incite will cause it to be so even further.

Many are not incited by 'words'. Yes?

The truth is words are harmless.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:52 PM
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I fear you give too much credit where none is due. People are proclaimed 'sheeple' by many, ordinary in every aspect, mundane to a fault. With little imagination or actual useful education.

Example... Millinnial's eating laundry detergent...

I would suggest the likelihood of ignorance in superstition matters, and history pre 1990's
edit on 22-1-2018 by Plotus because: truth



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:53 PM
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originally posted by: nwtrucker

originally posted by: smurfy
Rubbish!

Hate speech is about incitement..inciting others to do the dirty work, fake news used in the same way, (and we have plenty of that here at ATS) can do the same thing.
In the same way, articles with headings that mislead in the heading, while the article itself is inconclusive, do the same thing.
Dammit, I do think Milos has even realised that, he has become very polite lately...in fact I haven't heard a word from him this weather.


I believe you miss the point. Hate speech can be an incitement...if one doesn't fully understand 'words'. One can fear, react to the dark as a child and grows out of that fear-usually- as one understands the dark. Yes?

The mere belief that words incite will cause it to be so even further.

Many are not incited by 'words'. Yes?

The truth is words are harmless.

I don't miss the point, and many are incited by speech, yes!
And I have heard plenty of it in this country in my time, much of it full of fear mongering falsehoods
That is what hate speech is all about.
I don't think you have any idea about the machinations of groups who set about making their, so called, 'harmless' words...about others, true. Small little things, big really harmful things.
These are things you will never know were falsehoods, because they happened.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 07:56 PM
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“language has a psychological effect imposed physically”, and with “long term crippling effects”


And when one becomes wise to that maneuver, one can choose not to participate in what is ultimately verbal abuse.
edit on 22-1-2018 by Plotus because: more truth



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:02 PM
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originally posted by: smurfy
Rubbish!

Hate speech is about incitement..inciting others to do the dirty work, fake news used in the same way, (and we have plenty of that here at ATS) can do the same thing.
In the same way, articles with headings that mislead in the heading, while the article itself is inconclusive, do the same thing.
Dammit, I do think Milos has even realised that, he has become very polite lately...in fact I haven't heard a word from him this weather.


Trash.

Are you incited by hate-speech?



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:05 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I knew it, I just knew it!!!
Ahahaha!!!

I knew purely by the thread title alone that only LesMisanthrope wrote this thread.

I only opened the thread to prove to myself I was right.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:11 PM
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originally posted by: muzzleflash
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I knew it, I just knew it!!!
Ahahaha!!!

I knew purely by the thread title alone that only LesMisanthrope wrote this thread.

I only opened the thread to prove to myself I was right.


Who else would it be, Sherlock?



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:17 PM
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But hate speech bruh..it's so hateful
Surely we can outlaw how people feel about certain things.
Then we won't have to worry about bad wurds.
Those willing to curtail free speech will compromise every other right we are supposed to have.
edit on 22-1-2018 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:18 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: muzzleflash
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I knew it, I just knew it!!!
Ahahaha!!!

I knew purely by the thread title alone that only LesMisanthrope wrote this thread.

I only opened the thread to prove to myself I was right.


Who else would it be, Sherlock?


I'm pretty sure you wrote this thread a year ago actually.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:20 PM
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originally posted by: muzzleflash

originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

originally posted by: muzzleflash
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I knew it, I just knew it!!!
Ahahaha!!!

I knew purely by the thread title alone that only LesMisanthrope wrote this thread.

I only opened the thread to prove to myself I was right.


Who else would it be, Sherlock?


I'm pretty sure you wrote this thread a year ago actually.


I’ve wrote plenty of threads on the subject.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:29 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Sophist tripe.

As a general principle the idea that words have no real consequence is specious at best. Words can incite, enrage, and mislead.

www.psychologytoday.com...


In a series of studies, Martin Teicher M.D., Ph.D. and others have shown that there are physical and emotional consequences of “just” verbal abuse. In one study, the researchers found that the effects of parental verbal aggression were comparable to “those associated witnessing domestic violence or nonfamilial sexual abuse.” In fact, verbal aggression produced larger effects than familial physical abuse. There’s evidence too that exposure to verbal abuse in childhood actually alters the structure of the brain. That was also borne out in another study by Dr. Teicher and his colleagues called Hurtful Words. What the researchers found was that especially during the middle school years, when the brain is actively developing, exposure to peer bullying and verbal abuse caused changes to the white matter in the brain.

Just because we can’t see the wounds doesn’t mean they aren’t literally and physically there.


Using rhetorical sophistry certainly does not mean you are correct.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:36 PM
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a reply to: bgerbger

Ah yes, The bible of the NWO. The biggest abusers of words to date.

In fact, it's those that finger point and screech "Hateful speech". Are, in fact, the biggest haters. The biggest users of words to incite 'hate'.

Pure irony.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:44 PM
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originally posted by: nwtrucker
The biggest users of words to incite 'hate'.

So you disagree with the OP?



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 08:52 PM
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Programming abhors unrecognizable syntax.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 09:05 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

In the current common vernacular, I agree that the term "hate speech" is beyond ridiculously arbitrary. One man's "hate" is another man's honest observation (which may or may not be supported by quantifiable facts).

In the general sense, the phrase, "Sticks and stones my break my bones but names will never harm me" rings true to me. However, that is in the "general sense."

Where my course may veer away from yours (if I understand your post correctly, which I admit I may not) is that words, regardless of their order and by whom they are delivered by and whom they are received are as innocuous as an afternoon breeze.

If a child's basic physical needs are provided (food and shelter) yet the parents constantly berate the child as being a failure, do those words not affect the psychology and perhaps the physiology of the child?

If a partner of a long term marriage suddenly hears from their spouse that they are inadequate (with some variety of disparaging terms), will that person not carry that for years to come?

If a person is invited to a party and is verbally ridiculed by others at the festival for one reason or another, does that not affect the person in the short and long term?

I suspect I agree with your premise that "words" and "combination" of words should not be deemed "illegal"... but to pretend that verbal assaults mean nothing is naive.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 10:02 PM
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a reply to: eluryh22
My parents taught me at an early age that I cannot control anyone's speech or actions. I am however, master of my speech and reactions.
While I agree with you in the case of children being verbally abused, I don't think the OP was addressing children but adults and their public behavior. (But I could be wrong.) By the time we become adults we should have mastered the skill of being non-reactive to those who would attempt to incite us. Nine times out of ten simply ignoring the rude words, showing no reaction or simply giving a big smile at them will take care of that problem.
If you chose to react badly when someone calls you a nasty name, it's on you. You have the choice. You can simply ignore it and move on or you can heap nasty upon more nasty. "Be the change you want to see in the world."

These "hate" speech laws scare the holy bejesus out of me. They seem to reflect the level of maturity to which our society has plunged. Is it the fluoride in the water or the indoctrination of the children into ticky-tacky little cookie cutter children who can't manage to get control of their feelings? When someone says something that hurts your feelings you have choices: ignore it and forget it, confront them and discuss/resolve the issue or stay mad about it for the rest of your life.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 10:15 PM
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originally posted by: diggindirt
When someone says something that hurts your feelings you have choices: ignore it and forget it, confront them and discuss/resolve the issue or stay mad about it for the rest of your life.

You forgot, knock their block off.



posted on Jan, 22 2018 @ 10:36 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Star and flag for your ability to express your thoughts so wonderfully.

With that said, it makes me think of the saying,"Words followed by action is subjective to the words and the actions.". Words can also start wars. Civilization is only so civilized. Civilization is only as civil as the socialization, and the socialization is only as good as the control of the mass's. The mass's who look to society to tell them how they should be living their lives, and from my perspective society is not so civilized.



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