In our daily lives, we speak loosely, swaying effortlessly in and out of dialects. Our mouths are filled with colloquialisms, slang, humor, and hoards of other speech patterns that make our language seem indirect or common. This is a beautiful reflection of our adaptability — that we can formulate different speech at work, at home, with friends, and even at certain venues. It can, however, allow us to forget that, within this overwhelming wealth of words, all power is hidden.
It is empowering to remember that words create and recreate the world. Armies march at spoken command. Societies operate on the foundations of written law. The beginning of a friendship, the end of a marriage, a religious conversion, and the formation or the fall of a government can all happen at the spur of words. For good or for evil, words transform our lives.
Words are inevitable, undeniable, and unrivaled pathways for knowledge, inspiration, transformation, and, in a ‘word,’ power. How easily we overlook the electrifying potential we all have in our capacity to create words and, thereby, affect minds. Language is so robust that it often trounces reality; what matters is not the truth, but what we believe to be the truth, and that ‘truth’ is delivered through words.
This fills my mind as I read another article about another tragedy. And I am struck, like most readers, with a feeling of staunch helplessness, until I discipline my mind to recall the great power we all have to give life to good in direct response to evil. As long as we can create words, we can change minds. As long as we can change minds, we can change behavior. And, as long as we still have the opportunity to change behavior, we can change it all.