I have not blogged in over two months now. I have had little to say as a result of illness...both mentally and physically. During that time however...I have found time to observe and occasionally respond to comments made on social media...both negative and positive.
I have tried to be both encouraging and occasionally snarky. I believe it is part of the human condition to do such things...and should NOT be looked upon as distasteful...but more...honest.
We have understood for centuries that words are powerful. Many ancient texts caution us to be careful how they are used, for they carry the power to:
For many...words have become a science...studied to learn how best to use them to get what we want. Manipulation if you will permit me to say. Now...it is MY humble opinion that the manipulation of words does not have to be considered a bad or dishonest thing... if the outcome or is to provide positive results to those in our sphere of influence.
Case and point... read these words...
The author of this statement acknowledges the amazing feeling associated with success and allows us to find common agreement...then twists it at the end by allowing us to think more deeply about the necessary steps it takes to achieve it...namely failure and the pain associated with it...thereby encouraging us during times of hardship to hold fast...lest we miss the opportunity to succeed. Brilliant and encouraging.
But for sometime...many people and companies and news sources have used the art and science of word manipulation for their own gain and it has become so incredible misleading...that we no longer know who to believe...AND we have become OFFENDED when truth is spoken. Here's a few early examples...
This company's slogan used to be..."Get's your teeth their whitest!"
At face value...it sounds legit...but upon further scrutiny, we discover the manipulation. It is found in the word "their."
This company could not say it will whiten your teeth because they knew if it didn't, they would be held liable for false advertising.
So instead...they tell us their toothpaste will get our teeth as white as our teeth can get. But maybe my whitest is...yellow. See what I'm saying?
Here's another gem... Anyone remember the countless, sugar filled....non nutritious cereals we ate as children? They would say, "A tasty part of this nutritious breakfast." It was sold as a tasty part...not the nutritious part. See what I mean?
Over the years, even the military has learned how to win the hearts and minds. Okay...so here the point...for those who wish to be more aware of what your being told...pay attention to the way words are being used and you will quickly discover how awfully we are being manipulated in order to convince us of a certain way to think or behave. Have you heard any of these in the news for instance?
"NEWS SOURCES INDICATE THERE IS A POSSIBILITY..."
"The downward spiral of the..."
"The (something or other of importance) has been OVERSHADOWED by..."
These are NOT news comments...these are commentaries to get us to believe or think about something from a less objective point of view!
We are told it is wrong to hurt people's feelings...so we should be extra careful how we say things. I agree to a point...But then these "Experts" tell us which words are less offensive.
Now...I grew up in Michigan...and for a long time...there was an understanding that truth is the most important way to speak. Your integrity would be found in your ability to be trusted when you speak what you mean. And I seem to recall...less people being offended as harshly as they are today...even if it stung a little...we appreciated the honesty.
I recall these type of conversations in our neighborhood...
"How do you like my new haircut?"
"I think I liked it better the other way" (They stayed friends and no one cried.)
"I don't mean to butt in...but I think you're wrong here...and you should probably tell her you're sorry."
(And no one got punched.)
We kept each other honest...we held each other accountable...we were happier and less hurt. What happened?
I believe we would benefit from getting back to basics and not allowing others to judge our honesty as cruelty just because they didn't like the truth.
We have not come too far to change...have hope my friends...it all starts with us.
About the Author
Braden Daniels was born in Saginaw, Michigan and has been writing articles and books for over 30 years.