“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 in The Real Thing: a play
Twice today I’ve heard of the power of words. Once is when I made an error with mine and the second is when a friend did.
Mine was more public because I accidentally disseminated a falsehood on a blogpost, (now deleted) but that doesn’t make my friend feel any better.
Writers know the power of words, of course, as do public speakers. In line with this blog, people who practice magic know about the power of words. Many have magical names that they don’t share with others because that is their name of power. Many stories tell us: learning the name gives power.
We need to be aware of the power we wield every day through our speaking and our writing. Choose words carefully. I’m not saying to keep your words soft and sweet because someday you may have to eat them. But if we do choose hard words, be very aware of why and how we do this.
Words are a weapon, but use them wisely, not to hurt for the sake of inflicting pain. And when we accidentally cause harm, always, always apologize.