Thoughts on the marginal effects of shock doctrine on the power of words

We live in an era in which people make an abomination of words. With a stroke of a pen, a click of a key, and pulse of a teleprompter, our language and the power inherent within becomes less than what it was prior. With every superlative, every ounce of electrons containing the newest bit of shock doctrine, we move forward to a linguistic atrophy — the point at which words mean nothing.

The linguistic atrophy. When our language can no longer express the range of human experience: from our emotions to our hopes to our cries of defiance. Where will we turn? To whom will we call out? And if someone hears our cries, will they understand the depth of our pleas?

To what facet will our inner selves find relief if we become powerless in our voices? In a world where everyone is screaming, no one is heard. Today, as those who wish to be heard scramble to find the next loudest mouthpiece, the next platform upon which to stand, each one prior built upon the wreck of it’s previous standard holder, and the next fastest way to voices their opinion, we lose some of ourselves. For, at some point, technology escapes our grasp. Information flows too quickly. We are unable to hold onto the currents; the tide rises and we are without the proper evolutionary mechanisms that would enable us to swim with the depths and against the strength of the water.

Words spoken at volume of a jet engine are no more discernable than those at the faintest whisper. Words scavenged from the remnants of others, scaffolded upon faltering foundations will surely collapse in upon themselves. Knowledge and the speed at which it is transferred surely has a trade-off with truth, clarity, and depth.

We are slaves to the lies which we tell ourselves, along with the myths that pervade our consciousness. These overarching ideas which form into feedback mechanisms of both vicious and virtuous circles all reiterating things lost and opportunities forgone. We cannot see the folly in our actions because of the stories by which we have woven through them. The narrative, so dutifully cast, as us placed so high upon a hill and guardian of the ultimate good, face our foes who are of the vilest nature. We harbor the weapons of their demise. We must. After all, if we fail, the demise will be that of ourselves and our most loved. That is the basis of the story used to justify our actions. These actions, no matter the cost are justified by the inhumanity of those whom we claim to be our sworn enemies. The reverse is also true.

However, our use of words fails us in this respect. Those whom we assume are our foes are not our enemies. They are human; and like us, they are full of fallacies, hopes, and aspirations. Many of them want no more than to improve the world in which we live. Only, their vision has been shaped by their specific environment, not unlike our own visions. Yet, we are unable to see this. Our blindness, voluntary or not, makes us loathe and seek our harm on those who are not like us. In spite of our limited information and imperfect sight, we strike a blow. In retaliation, our formidable foe strikes back with slightly more force. Thus begins the exchange.

Author: Deric Tilson

I am a classically-trained economist and doctoral student at George Mason. I'm an ecopragmatist and interested in the cross-section where economics, ecology, and ethology meet. I hope to work for non-for-profits specializing in economic development and eventually moving to either the public sector or a think tank. My research interests include the political economy of war, resource economics, the applications of complexity theory, the mitigation of risk by impoverished individuals, and global water scarcity.

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