Whenever the speech is corrupted so is the mind. – Seneca
What does that mean?
This quote is a cold hard truth, and one that is recognized by many people. It is a method which is regularly used to manipulate people all over the world. It was one of the core concepts of a book by the author George Orwell in his book Nineteen Eighty Four, and was called “NewSpeak.”
Speech is made of words, and the words have meaning. These are grouped together to form thoughts or ideas and to move them from one person to another. If you can corrupt the speech, by banning words or concepts, everything else is corrupted as well.
In many parts of the world today, there are speech codes of various sorts. These are often enforced by social pressure, but that doesn’t make them any less damaging than if the government or any other formal organization enforced it. If you can’t say it, you can’t convey the thought, right?
When the thought is corrupted, so too is the mind. So, by the Transitive Property of Corruption, corrupting speech causes corruption in the mind. If you can’t use the word, how can you have a discussion relating to the word? As you try to talk around the word, the ideas become corrupted, as does the message, and finally the mind.
Why is free thought and speech important?
For those who have read the book, this post is probably bringing back bad memories. If something evil is declared a right, and anyone who even brings the thought up that the ‘right’ in question might not be a good idea, they are punished. The speech, the idea, and finally the mind has been corrupted.
Instead, I believe that a right can withstand the most vicious of attacks. Only the weakest excuses for corrupt thought requires the guarding and protection provided by corrupted speech, or ‘Political Correctness’ which is just another way of pronouncing ‘Newspeak.’
I believe that the best course is open and vigorous debate, with all words and ideas available, even the despicable ones. The worse the ideas, the more easily defeated they are, and the quicker you can get to the important topics of discussion.
Without this freedom of thought or freedom of speech, what can you discuss? Certainly nothing dangerous, at least not dangerous to the people who are controlling the rules. And by extension, they control the speech, which controls the ideas, which controls the minds of the people. I don’t like that idea, do you?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Well, hopefully you won’t apply the control of speech of the general population. But it can come in handy when dealing with small children. Just remember that they will eventually become curious about why something is not to be said or discussed, and then life can become very interesting.
On the other side of the coin, there is the issue of challenging speech or thought bans. That is usually something done by authoritarian groups, which means you could end up in a lot of trouble just for daring to disregard their authority. Please be very careful, most of these people are not good at taking a joke.
In the US, we have a problem with inner city violence. There are interesting correlations between those committing the crimes and various statistics regarding family status, accommodations, and socio-economic position. However, there are powerful people who make lots of money who don’t want that information discussed.
If you mention any of these correlations (and I’ll be the first to admit that correlations and causation are entirely different things), you are decried as evil and as racist and as a hater and anything else they can throw at you, just to shut you up.
They are trying to kill the speech that would lead to an idea which they don’t like. In the process, they are corrupting the language and corrupting the minds of everyone involved in the discussion. Again, it can be dangerous to cross these people, as they are powerful. But sometimes it must be done.
This post is more about introspection than action. My concern is that action without the introspection could get a person in a lot of trouble, and that is not my aim. Dr Martin Luther King Jr took action, and it cost him his life. Same for Gandhi. As have many others we do not know by name.
What words are you afraid to use? Why do you fear to use them? What will happen if you use them? Who will enforce the punishment? Why are you afraid of the punishment? How does avoiding the forbidden words corrupt your ability to discuss ideas? How does that corrupt your mind?
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna155051.html
Photo by Ben Ostrowsky
- 19 Shocking Examples Of How Political Correctness Is Destroying America (davidicke.com)
- Is Free Speech Dead? (thecollegeconservative.com)
- Around the world in memorable speeches (telegraph.co.uk)
- Socialism and Orthodoxy: A Preliminary Reflection on Capitalism and Freedom of Speech (interlocutorstheology.wordpress.com)