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Do Words Hurt?

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posted on May, 7 2013 @ 07:51 PM
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The knowledge of the intentions behind words is what hurts.

Yes, it is the subjective interpretation and internal response to words which give rise to any emotions - pleasant or unpleasant - we feel in connection to them. However the same argument can be made for anything. "Does seeing human beings suffer hurt?" One could just as easily say, "Seeing people suffer doesn't hurt. Only our choice or conditioning to view it as negative causes us pain."

So yes, if you are enlightened enough - if one wishes to term it such - that nothing disturbs your emotions anymore, then I suppose it can be argued that words have no power to inflict pain. Along with seeing children killed, losing loved ones, or watching someone you care for deteriorate into lifelessness. Nothing has any power to hurt us unless we allow it according to this philosophy. Which is of course your prerogative and I can both understand and respect it. Especially if you subscribe to the belief that the ego-derived reality is illusory to begin with. (It may well be.)

But not everyone is there yet... or wants to be.

Peace.
edit on 5/7/2013 by AceWombat04 because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 7 2013 @ 07:56 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Words are like jujitsu. The opponent is forced to destroy itself as a direct result of their use as a weapon. The stress caused by the malevolent use of words and their progressive ramifications can literally shred veins and internal organs over time.

Yes, words can definitely hurt, and they hurt more people than any other means of personal intimate assault.



posted on May, 7 2013 @ 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
reply to post by Brutebever
 


Find one example in the history of language of a word or phrase causing harm. There isn't one. Every time it is the one who hears the words doing damage to themselves.


I remember once during a conversation (not at ATS) I was called a Savage because of the extent of my indigenous background. That term in and of itself, caused more problems I can think of and it this case it had nothing to do with, "the one who hears the words doing damage to themselves". What about Stereotype's? A man looking for a job so he can feed his children cannot find one because he is a member of a countries minority.

The word itself (Savage) means that in the view of the offending person, the recipient,is a step above animals.

Though well below the standard the protagonist deems as worthy of having a soul and/or being civilized.

One good example is the term relatable by the initials MF. Essentially, it means that one has no problem taking advantage of single women who have children.

There is a word in Cuba that means one is a "class clown". In Puerto Rico it means your wife is having sex with another man, you know it and are not doing anything about it.

Any thoughts?
edit on 7-5-2013 by Kashai because: Modifed content



posted on May, 7 2013 @ 10:07 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 




Thank you for that - interesting ideas. I'm not sure exactly what you're shooting for though - is it that you have a problem with emotional responses? If we do away with our emotions will it make us stronger? Better? Invulnerable?

I'm interested in your word choices - and what those words mean to you personally. Do you think, when you use the word superstition, that some people are actually assigning some kind of supernatural power to words - they believe those words can affect them - magically? I think it's interesting when you say faith in semantics and religion of language...

You asked us - do words hurt? You've decided they can't. Rational people are unaffected by words - irrational people are hurt by them

So, language has no effect on some people - the rational people?

I don't actually believe that - they can claim whatever they want. I've seen some of those same rational people being seriously affected by words right here - in River City :-)

But let's pretend it's true - how sad is that - really?

We humans are emotional creatures, and we're human because of language - not in spite of it. We evolved with our languages. Words do affect us - they're designed to affect us

It's not easy being vulnerable - it's true. It's exhausting trying to protect ourselves from harm - real or imaginary

I wonder which is easier - losing our emotions or teaching ourselves how not to express them?


Yes. I'm saying that because words cannot physically harm someone—for all they amount to are squiggles on paper or articulated grunts—there is a superstition of the words themselves, which are mere symbols. The only thing that words carry are our own thoughts about them, and when we seek to ban words, strive for political correctness, burn books, ban literature, censor speech or song, we are merely censoring our own thoughts, and suppressing the ability to reason about them. Words are not magic spells, yet, on maybe a subtle level, we treat them as if they were, even to the point of sacrificing ourselves at their feet, and starting wars over them. (overly-dramatic I know)

It's not the words that hurt. Thought hurts. We don't dwell on words, we dwell on our thoughts about them. Outside of ourselves, words are meaningless, but once we read or hear them they are in our domain. Whether we venerate them or not, whether we believe them or not, whether we let them eat at us or not, whether we consider or deny them or not, is completely up to us.

On the other hand, if we all agree that words do hurt, and they are the cause of our pain, we must also agree that they must be of supernatural power to do so.

"We humans are emotional creatures, and we're human because of language - not in spite of it. We evolved with our languages. Words do affect us - they're designed to affect us "

I like this. This is very true. This is why we must not blame the words. It is like saying we should ban guns because of school shootings, or ban computers because of piracy, which is a superficial solution to a much deeper problem. Sure, it might work, but it only works as far as it suppresses something that is correlative, not the true cause. These sorts of laws only seek to protect us from ourselves, they limit freedoms, and they do not inspire us to honestly address and fix the real issue, the real cause of our suffering.

I think that's it in a nutshell. I'm sure it will change here soon enough.

I understand how this outlook makes me seem like some materialistic emotionless automaton as everyone has been implying, but this is merely the effect of language on everyone's credulity. I'm an emotional creature—I've welled up during a Hallmark commercial before—I'm not here blaming anyone for their pain, I am entirely empathetic. I love like the best of them. I'm merely being observant of my own faults, my own superstitions, my own vanity. What else do we know besides ourselves? It just so happens I use a polemical style to portray them. Hence the illusion of division here. It seems to open up restraint in some.

Great points Spiramirabilis. Something to think about.
edit on 7-5-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 7 2013 @ 10:20 PM
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How do you explain a scenario where something is said (just words) and then the person receiving these words goes and hurts themselves as an indirect result. Without words as the catalyst this event would not occur as a result.
Tricky one one but that is what "spells" are. A way to trick the weak mind into being influenced.
I would say words are influence and influence is dangerous. We only allow ourselves to be hurt.



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 12:22 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Why are you now saying that words cannot physically harm someone?
The creative energy transferred with words can cause mental harm -then physical harm.
Or do you believe that the mind cannot make the body dis eased?
You know words can wound, everyone should know this and that is why we should take care.
Also take care not to speak untruths which would make people think they can say whatever they want and the hearer, if hurt by the words, is at fault.

“It's not the words that hurt. Thought hurts.”
Words are thought in sound.
What do you think voice/words are if it is not thought transferred in the mind to sound/words.
You give thoughts the power to wound but not words.
If I say my thoughts it is words and they can wound. So anyone with telepathy can wound but if the thought is spoken they can't wound.?!!?
That is a contradiction.
In a world of duality words are not meaningless, only outside this imagined world words are meaningless.

I have been hurt by words said to me in hate, I have been hurt by hateful words, I have been hurt by words. What are you trying to say to us, are you really denying our experience? Or have you recently hurt someone and feel that what you said was not the problem it was how he/she perceived your words?




“We must not blame the words”

Who ever blames words?
It is always the speaker not the words, as I said the words are not independent from the voice and cannot even be discussed without their root.




My understanding is that words can wound, where you either are playing a very weak argument on purpose or you believe what you are saying.
If you are using deceit should you be as you could make the argument that words wound very easily.
Are you really trying to set up a philosophy of not blaming the speaker of words that wound and saying it’s the hearer ?
For the words are not independent of either the speaker and the hearer in this equation that you have either deliberately or accidentally imbalanced.
You can’t think words can be independent of thought.


edit on 8-5-2013 by BDBinc because: dual clarity



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 08:25 AM
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Seeing how the discussion has evolved, I am understanding a bit better hat you are actually putting into question here- there seems to be a surprisingly popular attitude about the danger of the word!
I think this might be a specifically american cultural view? I remember when I met my french (now) husband in the US at first, he used to crack up every time he heard someone use the phrase " You hurt my feelings".
He found this the most absurd and impossible statement to make.

Though I still think that there is validity to the theory I posted earlier, of early verbal conditioning (in which an internal repetition of something like "you are worthless' during childhood development would play a part in shaping the self image and behavior), I would continue to emphasize even in the context of your intended focus the subconscious reflexes that can exist and be triggered by words!

If I punch you, and say a word at the same moment of impact, your body will form an association between the experience of being physically assaulted and the sound of that word.
The experience of rejection from a provider/protector figure or group can also be associated with the use of that word.

In reaction to the punch, or the rejection, a production of hormones would happen, to prepare the body for fight or fight.

The subconscious does not necessarily record sensual memories in terms of linear cause-effect, but simply as combined together. Depending upon the force of the impact the experience had, that same word would trigger a surge in hormones later if the word is heard. You will get an internal emotional force that one can either ignore and not identify with or acknowledge and own (or attribute to a different source- a very common tactic of our conscious mind!)

But whatever you choose to acknowledge or not a very REAL effect is happening to the body in that moment, which can effect behavior, acts, have an cumulative effect (a build up of toxic wastes and stress from the hormones). Considering that some language such as profanity is often reserved for and intended for usage in hostile states, they are prone to being used in moments of violence, increasing their 'emotional charge'.




But the taboos which reserve these words to such usage actually INCREASE the prevalence of that emotional charge. For it is only in the repetative experience of the word being used in tandem with moments of no discomfort, no pain, no threat, that in can lose that association in the body.


......this is where, between you and I LesMis, it might be interesting to look at who fights so much to preserve the taboos on certain words and language, and ask 'why?' ......Why would someone want make sure there are certain words that can give the speaker such power over others?
edit on 8-5-2013 by coquine because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 10:03 AM
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reply to post by BDBinc
 



I have been hurt by words said to me in hate, I have been hurt by hateful words, I have been hurt by words. What are you trying to say to us, are you really denying our experience? Or have you recently hurt someone and feel that what you said was not the problem it was how he/she perceived your words?


I am not denying your experience. I am denying your conclusion that it is the words that hurt. I think that your claim is a superficial claim at best.

Sure, blame the words for your suffering. That seems to be the status quo. I'm only stating that this mentality is a form of superstition. Its not something to get upset about. We all do it.

Let's put you and some hateful words in a room and you can fight it out. Let's hope, for your sake, that you end up being the victor.



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 12:07 PM
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It seems like everyone who has responded to this thread has the same essential understanding of the issue: words themselves have no power but do bring an effect which is related to our perception of "the words". The only difference I see is in those words we've chosen to convey our personal understanding of this concept. Personal understanding of a concept is always colored by one's experiences. There is no right or wrong here, we are all just responding based on our personal truths.

Words are the vehicle of our thoughts. We use words to speak, but we also use words (in conjunction with images, memories, sounds, smells, etc) for our inner dialogues. When someone says, "Words hurt my feelings." s/he is not saying, "The words originated from thin air and violently attacked my emotions." ... S/he is actually saying, "I perceived words from an external source, then they entered my internal dialogue, wherein my emotions became involved and I was thus affected."

It's interesting that the semantics of the varied responses are being addressed as the true intent of the response.

One must take the time to understand that which is behind the words, within the context of the comment (as well as the speaker's potential experiences), before one can understand the true meaning of someone else's phrasing. One cannot, in a social context, take all words literally - humans often use aphorism and double entendre and allegory and prose to express ideas. Even so, one's own understanding of phrasing affects all words we perceive; the intent of the speaker is irrelevant if we believe we "know the meaning" (based on our own prejudices and experiences) before the speaker's intent has been explained.

Words have a meaning because they have been expressed, not because they are words. Words are expressed because we have an innate urge to put our thoughts and emotions and memories and ideas into a form which we can share with other beings. All spoken or written or signed or drawn or carved compilations of human ideas were created by humans. In all instances, there was some intent or "energy" behind the words - the intent was to share thoughts or emotions or memories or ideas.

Language, though, is much more than words. All available senses are used to understand language. Something like 85% of all language is nonverbal. Words are tools, but they are not necessary. If I go to a country where I don't know the language, I can still communicate all essential needs simply by using understanding that is common to all humans. If I cover my ears, you know I am having an issue with my ears, it doesn't matter if you know the word "ears".

Examples of language in the world:
- Human babies will cry when startled by a loud sound, it doesn't matter if the sound is from a surprise party or from a bomb. The loud sound affects the child on an innate level - the baby "understands" that the sound is uncomfortable and so wails to express this discomfort.

- Domesticated animals understand much of our nonverbal language, and they can also associate "meaning" with tonality by its level of repetition. They don't need to understand words, because we can see that they "understand" our intent when they follow our "instructions".

- Animals express their needs by communicating as they can within their species AND to other species.

- There are many plants that communicate danger to their relatives so that the relatives may create a defense against the danger.

- Insects (and some plants) adapt cautionary colors or traits to warn other species that they are poisonous (whether they are or not) as a means of self-preservation.

Language is an innate function of living beings on all levels.

This concept is not limited to words, which is why the conversation in this thread ends up being superficial arguments about the nature of words.... Nature created language, our version just happens to use words.

Some very interesting concepts to ponder:

Cymatics (affects of sound on matter):
Various sound frequencies (Hans Jenny)
The human voice (CymaScope)

Masaru Emoto's "The Secret Life of Water" experiments:
Rice Experiment
Water Experiment

Cellular Signaling (reaction of plants to a stimuli):
Tropism
How Stationary Organisms Respond to Stimuli
Towards Understanding Plant Bioacoustics
edit on 5/8/13 by ottobot because: typos



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 12:19 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


On the other hand, if we all agree that words do hurt, and they are the cause of our pain, we must also agree that they must be of supernatural power to do so.

Why on earth would we have to agree to that?

Language came from us, grew with us - it's a tool and more than a tool - but supernatural? Words communicate information, ideas, intent... Words mean stuff.

You don't believe in the supernatural anyhow :-) So, what do you really mean? How are words supernatural?

It seems (now) that you're maybe just taking a stand against censorship - hard to argue with that. But we can argue against it though - can't we? Language and thoughts are a messy subject. How do you feel about hate-speech? You say words have no power - but where do you really stand?


I understand how this outlook makes me seem like some materialistic emotionless automaton as everyone has been implying, but this is merely the effect of language on everyone's credulity.

Awww, LesMis - not true - you're as human as the rest of us. But, wait - what's this about the credulity of your audience? Are you saying you're not to be believed (or trusted)? This is the fault of language - and our credulity? And you say words cause no harm... :-)

I'm an emotional creature—I've welled up during a Hallmark commercial before—I'm not here blaming anyone for their pain, I am entirely empathetic. I love like the best of them. I'm merely being observant of my own faults, my own superstitions, my own vanity. What else do we know besides ourselves?

All true - and you are an emotional creature. So why are you consistently arguing against the use of strong emotion? I think this is very interesting - restraint is your favorite flavor seems like. No room for passion in our lives?


It just so happens I use a polemical style to portray them. Hence the illusion of division here. It seems to open up restraint in some.

Uh huh... :-)

So, did you also intend to un-make your own argument?

Interesting conversation Les - but you're not off the hook for that whole supernatural thing...I would still love to hear your explanation.

Also - I'm a sucker for maudlin commercials too. We irrational folk are easy like that

:-)
edit on 5/8/2013 by Spiramirabilis because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by Spiramirabilis






Also - I'm a sucker for maudlin commercials too. We irrational folk are easy like that

:-)


Irrational?

Not in my book!! Compassionate, thinking, articulate, precious soul is more like it!

Just words I know but....



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 12:48 PM
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Originally posted by olaru12

Originally posted by Spiramirabilis
Also - I'm a sucker for maudlin commercials too. We irrational folk are easy like that

:-)


Irrational?

Not in my book!! Compassionate, thinking, articulate, precious soul is more like it!

Just words I know but....

Well - opinions vary...

But - we are known by the company we keep sometimes - something about birds and feathers...

Just words I know

:-)



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 01:25 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 



Why on earth would we have to agree to that?


How can something incapable of causing physical damage hurt someone? Words must be of supernatural powers, or it isn't the words doing the hurting. Take your pick. I have opted for the latter myself.



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 02:08 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


How can something incapable of causing physical damage hurt someone? Words must be of supernatural powers, or it isn't the words doing the hurting. Take your pick. I have opted for the latter myself.

Words can cause no harm in the physical world in any physical way? You still believe that - or is that my credulity that keeps messing me up? :-) You're resorting to a supernatural explanation even though you don't believe in the supernatural - so must be sarcasm? Are you just messing with us?

Words are tied to thoughts - you don't get one without the other. Not even inside your own head. Try it - if you don't believe me

If you want to make the argument (getting back to your earlier 2nd Amendment analogy) that it's not the gun - it's the person behind the gun - well, that really only works with guns

If you're saying it's only our thoughts that can harm, then I would seriously start considering your supernatural explanation :-)

If words cause no harm - then thoughts must do all the damage - unaided

When you pull the trigger on a gun that kills someone - is it the bullet that kills them? Or is it the gun, the trigger, the finger that pulls that trigger, or the mind behind the finger?

I'm really not looking to get int a 2nd amendment argument here in this thread :-)

But if we want to pick apart this problem - where do we start?

Are words material or immaterial? I think this is the most interesting part of this whole subject - cause and effect

No thoughts on hate speech?

P.S. Les - I live for this stuff :-)



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 02:56 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


This is your mistake that you think words are not spoken and exist and have an independent life of their own.
Words unspoken are thoughts and you have already admitted to me that you understand thoughts wound but are not willing to reconsider that words wound.
What's up with that.





posted on May, 8 2013 @ 02:58 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 


I'm hoping he's messing with us.



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 03:50 PM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 



Words can cause no harm in the physical world in any physical way? You still believe that - or is that my credulity that keeps messing me up? :-) You're resorting to a supernatural explanation even though you don't believe in the supernatural - so must be sarcasm? Are you just messing with us?


Please explain how words hurt. Maybe you can aid in my thought. So far I see a lot of yelling but no convincing. :-)

Explain to me how I could spew a constant torrent of hate and evil in the form of words at someone who didn't understand the language and they would feel no harm. Yet I could do the same to someone who spoke the language and they would feel as though I hurt them. How come these hateful words hurt one but not the other? I intended to hurt them both!

Well the answer is obvious. Because he doesn't know the words, he must therefor be immune to them, and we'll call this skill an "ignorance shield". And because the other person knows the words, he must not possess the same skill. His knowledge is sapping his defence against words somehow..who knows, maybe knowledge is a curse. Even though I intended to hurt him, my intention conjuring abilities must not be as powerful as most people. Wasn't it the intention that hurt you said?


edit on 8-5-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 04:35 PM
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reply to post by BDBinc
 



This is your mistake that you think words are not spoken and exist and have an independent life of their own.
Words unspoken are thoughts and you have already admitted to me that you understand thoughts wound but are not willing to reconsider that words wound.
What's up with that.


I'm not really understanding your argument. If English is not your first language, is there a better way you can put it?

Obviously words are spoken. They are also typed or handwritten. They exist. A life of their own? Well that's a little bit dishonest, isn't it? Maybe you could explain what you mean or make a point.



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 06:22 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
reply to post by BDBinc
 

I said to you...


This is your mistake that you think words are not spoken and exist and have an independent life of their own.
Words unspoken are thoughts and you have already admitted to me that you understand thoughts wound but are not willing to reconsider that words wound.
What's up with that.


I'm not really understanding your argument. If English is not your first language, is there a better way you can put it?

Obviously words are spoken. They are also typed or handwritten. They exist. A life of their own? Well that's a little bit dishonest, isn't it? Maybe you could explain what you mean or make a point.


You say don't understand my words?!
Its such a simple concept, but I'm happy to play your game.

When you talk about words you are treating words as though they are devoid of a speaker, as though they come from nowhere and exist on their own without a hearer(or without consciousness) . You seem to understand thoughts wound.
I have been honest, you either lack the understanding or are playing the part of the fool.



posted on May, 8 2013 @ 07:06 PM
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One of the arguments offered by Materialists is that thoughts are waste products, irrelevant to anything that is happening in reality. Based upon that one could conclude that a Materialist would consider that words have no meaning because thoughts have no meaning.

He admits that thoughts have meaning but does not relate those feelings to anything beyond that of friends and family.


LM seems to want to relate the spoken word to the matter of gun control, implying that using words against another person or group of people has nothing to do with the words themselves.

He also seems to feel that words cannot kill so clearly he has never been exposed to the idea of what could go wrong in one begins to insult a person who is frail and/or elderly.

Throughout history people have died f heart attacks and strokes because of insults.

One way of looking at it is that he has not considered this but there are other ways to understand why he seems to think this makes any sense.

Any thoughts?
edit on 8-5-2013 by Kashai because: Added and modifed content



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