Friday, June 10, 2011

It's only words

The Bee Gees sang 'It's only words and words are all I have to take your heart away'.
Their song talks about the power of seemingly inanimate words. According to them words are all that one needs to win hearts.
Taking their premise further, the might of words can be put to a lot of good. A pauper can achieve all that he wants through the strength of words alone. A student can top exams by using the right words. An employee can get out of a tight spot by speaking placatory words. Wars can be won solely by the intelligent use of words.
Amazing, isn't that a vision to die for! No use of arms and arms, but people only talking to each other to resolve their inter-personal conflicts. Protesters engaging in talks with the government; Israelis and Palestinians using words to resolve their centuries-old land issues; the governments of Pakistan and India dialoging with each other; Americans in talks with Al Qaeda terrorists. The world would be so peaceful and simple.
If words yield a power greater than arms and weapons, why then do talks fail? What is missing in the communication between the concerned parties?
Words are words. They mean nothing unless accompanied with a thought force. One may be greeted "Good-morning"by a colleague and be left totally untouched in every way. On the other hand another colleague can infuse you with energy by his greeting and you may actually believe that he wishes you to have a good morning. He has communicated more than just a routine "Good-morning". His wish has the power and aspiration to indeed make your morning good.
Words are just the external form, the covering to our thoughts. Words are secondary to achieving an effective communication. The greater, stronger, more precise and clear the thought force, the more the chance of being understood by people who are able to receive that force. On several occasions one experiences a telepathy with certain people, where the spoken word is entirely inconsequential. The exchange with these special persons is possible just by thinking a particular thought and it seems to be conveyed. On the other hand there may be people with whom one could be using a plethora of words and still get the feeling of not being understood. The thought force behind the words does not enter the consciousness of this listener at all, leading to the gap in communication.
Words being words are open to various interpretations. When an understanding of the communication is derived only from the form of the words used, it can lead to misinterpretation and confusion. I may be accustomed to use a word in a certain fashion and with a certain meaning, while the other person may add his own interpretation or significance to it, obviously leading to a breakdown in talks. Drawing an analogy between clothes and words- just as we use clothes to dress ourselves up, words are used to dress up our thoughts. Just as one can use different colours, textures and types of clothes for dressing; one uses different words, languages and intonations to express thoughts. Judging a person by his clothes alone can be as misleading as judging a thought just by the words used to cover it up.
So, that's it. Finally, it's only words. Your tools. To be used as you wish. You can add power to them by the force of your thoughts. Bring about happiness and calm with the force of positive thoughts. Or cause mayhem by using negative thoughts to carry them. Or you can choose to communicate by not using them at all. Conveying thoughts wordlessly. Using precise words to convey a clear thought. Looking for the thought behind the spoken word.
Or like me, you can use words to write a blog and convey your thoughts.
( The idea for this post originated from a conversation with my daughter. She shared that when she was small she felt that the words and names she used for objects were her own. This led to a discussion about how all conversation between people was subjective and depended on the vocabulary, understanding, expressiveness, listening skills of the people involved).


  1. Mudita,

    Nice to see you back. A well written post with lot of depth. Impact of words is felt only by the force of spirit behind them. Words are hollow if spoken with no conviction behind them.

    Take care

    PS : No visits?

  2. Hi Jack, Did visit your post recently. Read ur post on the child in the park and the mother. I find such behaviour very shocking and disturbing. As a society what r we coming to. There is no purity in the relationship of a mother and child also. Too disgusted to have commented. Thanks. See you around.Mudita.

  3. Nice post, as usual.
    Without language, numbers make no sense

    People need language to fully understand numbers. This discovery – long suspected, and now backed by strong evidence – may shed light on the way children acquire their number sense.

  4. Hi up↑take, Loved your link. I teach 3-4 year-olds and am always amazed when they make connections between numbers and number names. Had not envisaged that language is an essential tool to be able to do so. Do you think that the people being surveyed had their own words/signs for number names? Liked your post on arranged marriages. Have used the link on my Fb account. Thank-you.

  5. Hi Mudita,
    Not sure about the research methods, but there is a line in one of the Shanti Mantras that says "mind depends on speech and speech depends on mind"... it amazes me how much truth is there in this one line. I once read a book on Zero by a western mathematician. He mentions about sage Gautama who gave names to numbers all the way to 10 raised to 50! I don't even know what comes after trillion.

    Regarding Arranged Marriages, Dr Robert Epstein has a class on this in the University of California at San Diego. If we purify our vision, we should be loving everyone. True love should not be limiting, it should not be selfish. Anything based purely on attraction fades after a while.