Have you noticed how language- centric we’ve become?
There is such an endless stream of words in our lives. There is increasingly less personal, face- to- face time we have for each other. We ‘communicate’ more than we ever did because we have a myriad ways to touch base with those who matter to us. All of these ways- emails, chats, comments, blogs, status updates, tweets, text messages- even phone calls- rely on words. The words are a deluge.
Which is why words are losing their meaning, like coins lose their shine when used for too long.
We use words carelessly, flinging them out at a world too busy throwing out its own steady stream. There is a frenzy about throwing out words into the universe. We never stop to think, “If every one is throwing out, who is catching them, gathering them in?” We wish to give words, not receive them. That is bad enough, yet this is not what I wanted to say.
I wanted to talk about words losing their meaning. I want to lament the death of meaning as it gets trapped into words. The more words we use, the less they convey. Is it a malady of the times that words manage to convey so little? Why is there is so little integrity in the words we speak? Who bled away the sincerity of words and allowed them to turn faded and trite? How did words turn into shallow puddles from the deep pools they once were? When did this happen?
Perhaps it is because words have become very easy to use. With so many of us throwing out words, who will remember what anyone said? With so many means of mass communication, who can expect us to remember what we said to whom? We can’t be held accountable for the words we throw out on a tweet! And my dear, if you took it seriously or were childish enough to think that I ought to have meant what I said, the more fool you!
We can just shoot off a “I’ll always be there for you” casually, without meaning it even an iota. The honesty that made us say what we meant is no longer the default status. It is safely defunct, peace be to it’s soul. This is a natural consequence when face- to- face interaction breaks down into occasional, even rare, events. When you betray someone’s trust, there is no one to look into your eyes and show you the utterly degrading spectacle of their misery and pain. This is how it becomes easy.
We blast through our days scattering away our silly streams of words. We are too busy to notice the broken hearts we leave in our wake. ‘If they believed us, they deserved it’- about sums it up for us.
But there are those who use words with all the contentiousness of a person on oath. They say what they mean and mean what they say. Their words are not the glittering, flighty, tinsel words of the insincere. They don’t attract attention since they are not pretty. They are homely, ordinary and dull; they have a backbone to prove them.
For such people, words aren’t just words.