When Are Words Dangerous?

The biggest danger with words is self-righteousness. Often, without even realizing it, we grab hold of someone else’s words and repeat them, massage them, exaggerate them, and argue for or against them. We do this without any direct experience with which to give the words meaning. We manipulate these words in our heads without making any experiential or emotional connection with what we are saying. All we are working with are the learned emotional connections that are triggered by the words themselves or by whether we like or dislike a particular speaker. Whenever we do this, we are functioning entirely in our heads and subconscious emotions. Our words are not grounded in the awareness of our own personal experience and choice.

How many of us take the nightly news as gospel when we haven’t personally experienced Iraq or Afghanistan? Have we personally experienced the many different nuances that play out in those countries in every single moment in every single life? Have we even stopped to consider how distorted and limited the view of a single reporter may be? Yet, many of us accept the words of others as truth without thinking further.

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