Friday, November 2, 2018

Words Are for the Herds – Part 3

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Updated 4/10/19. "Crazy" segment in "Word Reversals" section.


Groups of symbols indicating things of reasonably-defined meaning, or something else altogether?

Both. But if you’re familiar with the “Words Are for the Herds” line of thinking, then you know that words are often “something else altogether.”

If you’ve not yet read the earlier posts in this series, I recommend you do:
“Words Are for the Herds – Part 1”
“Words Are for the Herds – Part 2”

These prior two parts provide a solid background to this series along with many valuable insights that aren’t included in this particular article. (And they’re a fascinating and fun read!)

In the past, I’ve focused on single words and looked at different ways of breaking them down phonetically, anagrammatically, etc.

What I want to do now is two-fold: I want to examine, one, how words are used in phrases in harmful yet seemingly innocuous ways, and, two, how negatively-oriented language has been injected into our culture and we’ve sucked it up like water to a sponge.

As you’ll come to see, we’ve not been doing ourselves any favors by expressing our thoughts in the ways we have.

Guilt Implications

While words have power in and of themselves, phrases and sentences have all the more. It’s therefore important that we be able to discern the underlying meanings of whatever is stated overtly.

In the following two examples, we’ll see how guilt is subtly induced in “everyday” situations.

Guilt Example 1: Wedding Invitations
I’ve seen wedding invitations in which the RSVP portion offers these two options:
  • I will attend.
  • I am sorry I cannot attend. -OR- I regretfully decline.

This type of RSVP is basically saying that all is hunky-dory if the invitee can attend, but they must feel guilt/regret if they cannot attend.

Is the invitee allowed to decline without having to say sorry? Can the invitee decline without there being a subtle burden of guilt as though some wrong has been committed in saying "no"?

Why not this, instead:
  • I will attend.
  • I decline.

The choice for attendance doesn’t have a clarifier, so why must the choice to decline?

Or maybe people could send this:
  • I will __________ attend.
  • I __________ decline.

This way, an invitee can make his or her choice by filling in the blank. Perhaps: “I will unhappily attend,” or, “I enthusiastically decline.”

(…What? No one is that honest? Pardon my naive idealism…)

To be clear, I don’t believe that the people who use these invitations have the intention of guilt-tripping others. I’m pretty sure that most people are clueless as to what they’re actually saying. I feel that this phrasing has been quietly injected into our language by less-than-kind people in order to negatively influence us at a subconscious level.

Guilt Example 2: Donation Requests
A college fundraising mailer I’d once seen offers another similar example. It said something to the effect of:
We’ve set this year’s fundraising goal at [rather significant dollar amount], and we’re depending on you to fulfill this goal.
In other words, the college is saying: “We set the bar, and it's your obligation to uphold it.”

I’m sure some proud alumni and associates of the college would donate, but do you know who else would do so? The ones who hadn’t feel validated in childhood unless giving authority—likely their parents—what they'd wanted.

Now grown up, the "authority" and the potential donatees are repeating the same approval-based programming; the former says: “This is what we want from you,” and the latter says: “Yes, because I crave your approval.”

Along similar lines are the mailers from countless other organizations seeking donations:
Return this dime, and we can feed 10 starving children for a week.
Please consider making a donation. To thank you in advance, here’s a free map/personalized address labels/notepad/magnet/certificate of gratitude/dreamcatcher/blanket/pen/necklace/basketball/pair of tickets to ‘Disney on Ice’/iPhone 10.
Okay. So maybe I got carried away there. But I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

It’s all about the guilt.

“Subtle” Does Not Equal “Small” or “Trivial”

When I write concepts such those in this “Words Are for the Herds” series, I sometimes feel a tug of hopelessness pulling at me. I feel like, Is anyone other than the choir really going to grasp my preaching?

I guess to some extent, not everyone in the choir is aware of everything, and so even preaching to the choir can have its benefits.

But otherwise I feel like this is one of those topics that can get brushed off way too hastily because we’re collectively so embedded in negativity that we don’t realize how distorted circumstances actually are; because we’re so fixated on the overt, coarse aspects of life that when people speak of the subtleties they’re often looked at as though they have three arms.

Yet it’s so important that we acknowledge the more subtle levels.

Words are very powerful things. This is usually evident to us when we speak unkindly or are misinterpreted and circumstances quickly turn sour. But the underlying energy of words, any sourness of which is not readily perceived by most people, also has power. And so we would do well to develop an understanding of this because negativity spread in ignorance is still negativity spread.

Did you ever notice that we often say, “Don’t forget…” rather than, “Please remember…”? Or that, in a religious sense, a great many people still push, “Thou shall not…” instead of, “Love one another,” and, “Do unto others…”?

Trivial as these things may seem, their usage is to no small effect and they're implicit of no small cause. This negative focus is the basis of our society which means that it is the basis of our collective and therefore individual states of mind.

Word Reversals

This negative orientation can likewise be seen in more recent times as we’ve taken to describing positive things with negative words. Somehow these have managed to catch on and spread like wildfire.

Although the context of these words has changed, their inherent energy signature has not. We still simultaneously use them with their original meanings and in their original contexts, after all.

Here are a few examples:
  • “That’s sick.” (Stated of something deemed special in some way.)
  • “That’s the shit.” (Stated of something deemed special in some way.)
  • “You slay/kill me.” (Spoken by one who’s humored by another.)
  • “I’m going to go die now.” (Surprise at something really good happening.)

There are also things such as the Philadelphia Phillies merchandise presenting a shorting of their name simply to “ill.”

“Oh, dude, you got an “ill” shirt? That’s sick.”

Word reversals that I think have been around for quite a while are those such as, “That’s crazy.”

Somebody tells their friends they want to go skydiving, and their friends say, “That’s crazy.” But is it? According to the United States Parachute Association, in 2018, there were only 13 fatal skydiving accidents out of a total of 3.3 million jumps. It’s crazier to drive a car day in and day out, multiple times per day, yet nearly everyone is willing to do that and very few ever think there’s something psychologically wrong with themselves or others for doing so.

“That’s crazy” is not merely an expression. If we ask who’s saying, for example, that skydiving is crazy, we’d find that it’s not the people who are skydiving. (They’re probably shouting, “YOLO!”) The people who’re calling the non-crazy things crazy are the ones who have a very limited worldview and aren’t willing to leave their comfort zones. They describe things in this way, unconsciously, as a means of reaffirming to themselves that they themselves are reasonable people living reasonable lives and it’s the world at large that’s gone mad.

Be Careful What You Wish. You Just Might Get It.

We exist in a living universe.

Literally, everything we think, say, and do comes back to us. Literally, everything we think, say, and do is us choosing what we want to experience, if unconsciously (via subconscious thought, repressed emotion, etc.), for better or for worse, in the immediate or distant future.

We don’t realize this because, one, we’ve not been told that it is so—quite the opposite—and, two, we experience a time delay for the majority of things—most notably with our thoughts.

But just because we are unaware doesn’t mean that those who design language, have incredible sway over cultural norms, and think quite unkindly of the average person are also unaware. Indeed, they know how this all functions, and they’ve worked very hard to keep us as ignorant and unwittingly foolish in our choices as possible.

These people want us to manifest endless hardship, and it is so easy for them to set the wheels turning (and keep them turning) in this age of instant connectivity via mass media.

All it takes is a single A-list celebrity to fashionably say or wear something that says, “Sick!” and droves of people are going to adopt it. If they want to angle it to a certain demographic, then they select the celebrity, marketing style, and the media outlets accordingly.

It’s then not long before life collectively takes a deeper plunge into the abyss because a significant portion of the population has spent years expressing the worst even of the best.

Listen Wisely

Do you know why the wise man is so wise?

Because he listens more than he talks, and when he is the one talking, he listens to what he is saying.

He is therefore able to open himself to ever expanding levels of conscious awareness from which he can compare his cacophonous external world experience to the calm of his internal world wherein his higher knowing resides. This enables him to readily discern misalignments between the two worlds and make adjustments accordingly.

In this state, he “gets” the subtleties of life so that they cannot “get” him.

Let’s take a hint from the wise man and learn to listen wisely.

Wisdom is, after all, the only way out of the abyss.

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