would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create

 words drop to the ground speak morality individual

 

=============

 

“For each person there is a sentence — a series of words — which has the power to destroy them.”

 

Philip K. Dick

 

=================================

 

“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger for life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human.”

 

Richard Wright

 

====================

 

Well.

 

trump tweet business hollow empty words awkward situationI have written about the power of words, the proper use of words and … well … the waste of good words a zillion times.

Nothing tears me out of my frame more than seeing and hearing someone abuse words.

 

That said.

 

I cannot tell everyone how often I am reminded that how you say something is possibly more important than what you say <at minimum I would suggest it is a symbiotic relationship in which the life of ‘what you say’ is in the hands of how you say it>. And ‘how you say it’ doesn’t just encompass context, tone, choice of actual words & phrasing but also internal speaker stuff – intent, purpose and, maybe the most important of all, belief in the words you are saying.

 

All this becomes incredibly important because when words are used in front of a receptive audience they can encourage marching, fighting and a sense of hunger for life that can gnaw at us all.

 

While I could write an entire book on what makes words tricky … today I will offer a couple of things:

 

 

  • Words given and words used

 

Yes.

Some words we choose on our own.

empty words bla bla

But more times than we may like to care … there are words that are given to us.

 

Huh?

 

It is easy to think about how there are speechwriters and how some people have to stand up and deliver someone else’s words … but this bleeds into everyday life. In business you can be sitting around a table and people parse out words and offer different ways of saying what you want to say. Parents suggest different words to their children and teachers do it day in and day out. Friends say “don’t say that” or “I wouldn’t say it that way” … in other words … we are given words to say all the frickin’ time.

 

Suffice it to say … not all words given to you are actually good words for you to use. Words have to match personal beliefs to be delivered effectively.

 

I was reminded of this the other day listening to Trump deliver a speech he obviously <a> had written for him and <b> didn’t agree with. Trump is incapable of keeping his thoughts to himself, or of cloaking his speech with words that could disguise his true thoughts.

 

Here is what I think I know from years of giving speeches and seeing people give speeches with regard to effective use of words and presenting words — intended thoughts versus underlying principles.

 

In general most people working together share some basic principles. These are the foundations for specific words. Therefore when given words to speak the shared principles kind of ground the tone and delivery so that they don’t sound painful or distasteful coming out of the speaker’s mouth – just maybe a little uncomfortable on occasion.

Without shared principles the words have no foundation … they are delivered hollow of anything. They are just empty words. And empty words sound … well … empty. They may be the actual right words to say but the wrong person is trying to say them – which hen strips them of any meaning.

 

Here is what I know about empty words — empty words are evil.

 

==

 

“And empty words are evil.”

 

Homer

<The Odyssey>

 

==

 

 

empty words almost echo withinThey have been uttered full of nothing … even though they possibly were crafted by a lot of something <passion, thought, insight, whatever>.

But as they eased out from between the lips of the deliverer they were stripped of anything meaningful and simply become platitudes.

 

I could argue that this insures inevitable invisibility <unless some listeners/pundits attempt to parse out each word as meaningful and full of some meaning & intent – where there actually was none of that>.

 

These words are not harmless because in their emptiness they have become a version of evil.

Evil in that they have not prompted any thought, any idea … any new passion. They are evil in that they have not inspired anything new … and everything old, or that which exists now, remains unchanged.

 

That’s what evil does … it fights change and thrives on inertia.

Those of us who give words should be incredibly careful, and smart, on who we give them to.

Just because a word is right it may not be right for that person.

 

 

The second.

 

 

  • Words can have a life of their own

 

Words are their own people with minds of their own. This means that they may not always remain a true reflection of the speaker’s thoughts. Once they leave the lips and they enter into the ether … well … they can be chameleons. They often take on the hues of the environment.

 

=========================

 

“Words are chameleons, which reflect the color of their environment.”

 

——

Learned Hand

 

==============================

 

Whew.

 

This makes choosing words even more difficult.

 

More difficult in that a word can mean several things at exactly the same time … what it means in your head, what it means as it leaves your lips, what it means own your words who you areas it floats thru the environment <slowly, or quickly, changing as it is bombarded with contextual environment> and what it means as it is heard.

 

What made me think of this was watching a Trump rally speech, a day after watching a scripted teleprompter speech, where I was reminded of the power of context. Context, and delivery, can strip a word of meaning or it can dress it in whatever clothes you would like.

 

For example … if I use the word ‘unity’ and, yet, it is used within an overall “us versus them” driven narrative it suggest not an overall unity but rather a unity of “us only.”

 

Huh.

 

One would think unity would be a word well used in almost any environment.

 

Unite. Blend. Coalesce. Combine. Fuse. Join. Merge.

 

These words refer to the bringing or coming together of several different elements to form a whole.

 

Out of many one.

 

E pluribus unim.

 

Unite actually comes for the Latin word ‘usus’ which means one.

 

words swirlingCombine means to bring together in close union … more general in application than unite and does not emphasize as strongly the completeness of the process of coming together. In other words it just places things together but don’t guarantee the full integration.

 

Blend even more strongly than combine suggests a mingling of different elements. Unlike combine it specifically refers to the obscuring or harmonizing of various components.

 

Merge, like blend, suggest the loss of spate identity of ingredients, but does not imply the physical act of making or mingling together different elements.

 

Join is the broadest term of this group can mean to become part of to bring together or connect or to put together in close contact.

 

Fuse means to join by or as if by melting together – it also implies some aspect of ‘forcing or forging.’ Fuse in other contexts implies a solid lasting connection.

 

Coalesce suggests a gradual or natural coming together. In extended senses coalesce suggests two separate courses that gradually merge into one. .

 

 

In other words I can say unity in a number of ways or even qualify unity with another likeminded word all of which suggests this is a multi-dimensional challenge — constantly in flux.

When Trump says unity it doesn’t create gold in people’s minds … it creates shit.

 

===================

 

“I’m fucking King Midas in reverse here. Everything I touch turns to shit.”

Tony Soprano

===============

 

 

Regardless.

 

words have power dear daddyI imagine my real point is that words without their corners knocked off, or ground down, can be good words … and used for good.

 

They need to be shaped, protected and guided through the environment instead of being flippantly flung out assuming a basic stimulus – response world.

 

I clearly have a healthy respect for words. And I, frankly, have a healthy respect for the responsibility of words handed to someone.

 

Used well they can nudge the world.

Used hollowly they are evil.

Used poorly they are just wasted.

—————

 

“Words…

 

They’re innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they’re no good any more… I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are.

 

They deserve respect.

 

If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you’re dead.”

 

==

Tom Stoppard

 

——————-

 

 

I am not a speechwriter but I have been involved in, and seen, hundreds of presentations and speeches. I can say, unequivocally, the same word can nudge the world, be hollow or just be a waste of breath depending on who utters it.

You learn in business, fairly quickly, that just because a word is universally good <like love, or unity, or hope> it can quickly lose its ‘goodness’ depending on who delivers the word and how they deliver it.

You learn in business, fairly quickly, that while the audience matters you cannot ignore the deliverer of the words.

 

An angry speaker struggles to speak of love authentically.

A passionate speaker struggles to speak of mistakes authentically.

A storyteller speaker struggles to speak with the intent to inspire energy authentically.

 

You learn in business, fairly quickly, you use words, and give words, with ‘authentic delivery’ in mind. And, yes, that means that sometime you sacrifice some words despite the fact you know your audience yearns to hear that word.

 

You learn this, in business or in Life, or you will waste a shitload of words.

 

Anyway.trump tweet business hollow empty words awkward situation

 

I would say this about anyone … but Trump is painful for me to listen to as he either misuses words or purposefully abuses words <or is given words that he abuses>.

 

But I can honestly say that I, a word guy, feel insulted when I am asked to imagine that Trump believes what he says whenever he is persuaded to sound like what he believes the president of the United States is supposed to sound like.

 

I have lots of gripes with President Trump but the fact he abuses words so shamelessly is a crime to me.

 

 

 

 

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