“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling
Unlike the other animals of this world, we alone have developed words. Words have some of the most incredible, immense power anyone can possibly imagine.
As you read the words I put to the screen here, they may or may not evoke emotions. Certain words stand out, grab our attention. Some words speak to you. And the same word can produce a different emotion in one person than in another.
Take Power, for example. Some people see the word power, and they think about the literal notion – electricity, batteries, petroleum. Some people see Power, and their thoughts turn to images Amazons shooting arrows, or Atlas holding up the globe. Some people see Power, and they feel stronger, they feel energized.
Power means a lot of different things. It can stir positive emotions, when we think about power letting us read these lines on the screen, or when we think about a powerful individual like Gandhi doing good in this world. Of course, on the opposite side of the same coin, it can stir negative emotions, like when we think of power corrupting, or people in power abusing that power like any given despot exploiting his or her people.
Power – a very simple, five letter word, capable of stirring emotions, creating ideas, inspiring happiness or anger. Just a word, but a word that can take on numerous shapes, forms, and places in the heart and mind.
Words are incredible. “There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure, ‘cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.” – Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven. Words have far more than two meanings, but they can be so powerful they can bring about the rise of a star, or topple the great from their lofty places.
Sometimes words can take extremely different meanings. For example, in Chinese, the word for Crisis is the same as the word for Opportunity.
The definition of a given word can be expanded FAR beyond its original intent. Occasionally we can take a word and give to it a depth and character that can be playful and unexpected. “Wash: This landing could get pretty interesting. Mal: Define ‘interesting’? Wash: Oh god, oh god, we’re all gonna die?” – Joss Whedon, Serenity.
Words are quite the wonder. They can make us see images in our head, they can spawn ideas great and small, they can spark emotions good and bad. Words can make and break relationships. Words direct and misdirect our world in hard-to-imagine ways.
“We wrapped our dreams in words and patterned the words so that they would live forever, unforgettable.” – Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things.
We seldom pause to give this much thought. Words are something we use every day, whether we speak them, think them, read them – here they are. Words are everywhere in our lives, and far more wonderful and terrible than we usually acknowledge.
Words – an incredible, immensely powerful wonder of our world.
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napoleon Hill.
I am MJ Blehart, your wise, weird, wandering, wily, wacky, wistful “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” wordsmith. Every week I will be sharing a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me! And (please indulge my shameless self promotion) check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my philosophical and topical opinions.