Sunday’s Wisdom #72: The Power of Words

“While the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning and, for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.”
– V, V for Vendetta

This quote is in a similar vein with last week’s, where people too often demand others conform to their worldview and take it as some personal affront when they don’t because that raises the possibility that they are wrong.

It’s happened over and over throughout history: one group of people tries to impose their will, and to that end, they crush, stifle, shred, and otherwise obliterate every word, every idea, that disagrees with them. They try to snuff out every deviation. Yet, time and again, this has proven futile. Mortals may be the ones to bleed for their cause, but words and ideas can long outlast any tyranny which momentarily strikes them down. Indeed, such oppression is is a fan to the flame of rebellion.

Words and ideas, the pen and quill, the human voice… these are much more powerful than all the combined armies in the world. Tyrants know this. Their power, after all, is also built on words and ideas. These being the root of their influence, they can often be frantic in protecting them, and enforcing them. Any single word, any idea, even one tiny thought can bring their domination to absolute ruin.

But there is a flip side to this: truth will only be made known to those who listen. That’s more than just hearing words and being able to parrot them back. It’s taking them in, deep into your mind and heart, processing them, digesting them, lingering on them… truly considering the idea that you might have missed something important, and all the subsequent ramifications.

This is why they use propaganda, to try and get us to stop listening to each other. If we stop listening, we stop thinking and talking, we stop working together, and thus, we pose no threat to our de facto masters and overseers.

And central to this effort: encouraging hostility, in all its flavors, against people who disagree with us, despite the fact that their opinions do us no harm.

They use the entire populace to fight any idea which could be a threat, because they fear such ideas, because they know the power of the words those ideas give birth to.

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