Words, the means of which we write and communicate, serve as catalysts for political change and societal progress. As many before have claimed, words have a power--one that continues to shape and skew our views on education, belief, and law. It is the means to transcend thought and move into action; it is the gift to transcribe images into that of imagery and bring the visual world to the mind-scape of the writer. It is the ability to convince, empower, and provoke those around you. Yes, words are power. Yet, as Edgar Allan Poe states, "words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality."
Just as power is a relation, so too are the words we use. They are a relation to life's gifts and promises, death's hardships and losses, and time's imparting of truth and ideals. Words are our written and permanent language, but they are also our endeavor to discover and define meaning. With this in mind though, there is another aspect to this power I wish to discuss and further draw your attention toward. Below is a quote by Winston Churchill from a biography of his: "We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out."
At first glance, this quote is a reminder of responsibility--naturally we are responsible for the words we say and preach. However, there is more than 'responsibility' at issue here. For a person to change from "master" to "slave" is more than a question of accountability--but that of consequence. Churchill is not simply saying we are responsible for the words we say, but that we are defined by them.
What is a definition? It is a distinct description of meaning; to define is to determine limits, to describe and observe qualities, as well as to name. When we name a thing or a person--we designate with a purpose in mind. A name comes with the assumption that we understand its function; we are "slaves" to words due to our innate desire for the pursuit of meaning. This pursuit only continues with the growth of social media. For example, both my article and my previous work are posted for all to read whenever and where-ever they see fit. They are there for all to critique--for all to witness--and for all to judge. In the coming weeks I'll be continuing this discussion on the power of words.