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The Power of Words

In a time where words are abbreviated into consonants and symbols and three letters can signal an entire sentence, it becomes interesting to look at language in depth. Whether our ‘wyd’ for “what are you doing?” is a reflection of life lived on the go or a need for differentiation, our words and phrases change faster than Merriam & Webster can look up aardvark in the dictionary. How often do we analyze the reason behind our speech or think before we speak to choose our words meticulously? We are constantly deciphering messages from those around us via the internet, television, and in person. It may be useful to probe the source of our daily thoughts, conscious and subconscious, received through our constant contact with others.

Recently, I saw a movie called Waking Life, which posed various questions about our world and below is the clip on language.

Words we hear transcend basic levels of communication and positions themselves in layers to convey multiple meanings. For example, when a lyricist or a singer uses words they master and own those words and command them where to go and how to move the listener. On the other hand, we can hear politicians use all the right words and yet their speech can have no power if they do not move the listeners. This power within language that is found in how the speaker uses it is something the clip refers to as transient and spiritual in nature. Language is a constant practice of identification and an attempt to relate and unite.

In looking closer to the common and mundane practice of speech comes an appreciation for its everyday uses: poetry, music, slang, text-talk. We are constantly shifting and modifying words in order to better convey the meaning and the power of meaning we feel as we speak. Behind our varied methods of communication is a desire to connect at the most basic level of understanding and this desire is so large that we have gone great creative lengths to reach one another. I hope that as we continue to push language we will push ourselves to speak with power and consciousness of our ability to touch with words.


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