Saturday, August 25, 2007


"In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." So says John in the opening line of his Gospel. Since the earliest days of humanity, a mysterious, almost magical, power has been attributed to words. Complex linguistic abilities are more responsible for human civilization than any other factor; without the faculty for precise and instant communication, it would be difficult to build a tent, let alone a spaceship. Later, we even gained the ability to draw sounds, making them permanent and visible. How many other species are there that can claim to see the intricate noises made by their ancestors? Speech and writing, therefore, are undeniably the pillars of humanity, without which we would be no more 'civilized' than the great apes. It is words that make us different; it is words that make us human.

The above biblical passage illustrates mankind's fascination with language. John presents Jesus as the Word Incarnate (logos in the Greek he spoke), speech made flesh. How neatly the implications of this idea intersect: language is God's greatest gift to mankind, Jesus was sent to save us, thus Jesus must be the Word, and language must be our saviour. Whether you care for the Bible or not (please see my previous statements that the Bible stories are not to be taken literally, but symbolically and metaphorically) John's sentiment is both moving and profound. That our greatest ability, and the one that is most overlooked, could be the source of both our past glories and our future achievements is thought-provoking at the very least.

So what am I getting at here? Why am I going on about words and magic? Quite simply, both you and I have a responsibility greater than that of the common people in any time before our own. Knowing the power of our words, and possessing a medium that allows us to broadcast those words all around the globe instantaneously, we must strive to use them for the betterment of both ourselves, and the rest of humanity. Using language the way a politician does is a sacrilege greater than any heresy, for it attacks not a doctrine, but the very essence of our humanity. Conversely, using it well will benefit everyone, a truly worthy effort. So please, keep in mind the effects that speech and writing can have, and their indispensable role in the success of our world. Use them accordingly, and use them well. Ciao.

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