The Bee Gee’s sang:
It’s only words, and words are all
I love words. I’m fascinated by the flexibility of English which has adopted words from so many other languages. It is always changing and transforming. When I was a kid, ‘to Purolate’ or ‘to FAX’ were not even in use. I’ll never forget the first time I told someone that I would Purolate something to them.
Consider, too, that many subject disciplines create language to meet their needs. Sociologists turn nouns into verbs in the effort to explain sociological phenomena. Poets use ‘poetic license’ and combine words or coin new in their attempt to create a picture or capture a moment or express feelings in one word of highly personal meaning.
From all my studies and my experience as an educator, I know that language serves academia well. Academia demands language which is exact, precise and explicit. The goal is clarity of explication without personal engagement. The language is expected to be objective rather than subjective.
In the academic world, that’s great. However, the very precision and exactness expected in the academic world limits, contains, and constrains any attempt by us to use words to reveal the fullness of what we believe and how we engage with ourselves and with our world. Language is a platform which is often limited in its ability to capture the truth of our experience. The words fail to capture our energy.
Couple with that the frustration we feel when we try to find the words that say what we want to express in a manner which is deeply meaningful to us while, at the same time, choosing words which we hope others will fully understand at our level of intention. For me, I know that I feel pressed to find words that others will ‘grock’. In doing that, in my attempt to explain myself so others will ‘get’ what I’m saying, I feel that language becomes not a tool which helps me say what I believe but an instrument of smallness and incremental growth. I know, as a writer, that it feels like I’m trying to provide a shape and form to something which is amorphous, and I feel like I’m managing the immensity of my spirit in my attempt to explain and describe all that I AM in a way someone else will ‘get’.
I know that words have energy and vibration, and that the words I use have an impact on me as well others. For most of us, written or spoken language is the primary way we share our personal thoughts and experiences with others. It is a tool that has much potential for expression and yet, it is a tool which often fails to express the immensity of our spirits.
There is such paucity in choosing to only use those words which everyone else will ‘get’ – in choosing exactness over energy and magic, in choosing words which limit the full expression of our potential, capacity, and immensity.
I believe that it is important for our own expression of self that we always choose words which give intention and expression to our lives and the signal which we bring to the world. It is not important that others understand what we are saying. That we are explicit for others. What is important is that we speak and write our truth aware of the impact of the words which we use to change us and to be the expression of who we truly are.