community living

Choose your words, they shape the world...

Each day brings its share of articles, videos, and posts that use profanity and insults about others. This cliffs the exchanges and radicalizes the positions between individuals and communities. Alain Bentolila, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Paris Descartes, says: "Not all words weigh the same. » They can hit, hurt, ... even under the guise of humour, insults are becoming more and more commonplace. Verbal violence that strikes at the respect of the other, which is essential for a good life in society. So an ethic of speech and communication must once again become the basis of our living together.
Choose your words carefully because they shape the world.
Navajo proverb."

What if our vocabulary comes to talk about our transition?

When, in order to make ourselves heard, we have to use rudeness and insults, I tell myself that we have become "poor" in vocabulary. Each of our languages contains a wealth of words to express our joys as well as our sorrows, frustrations and anger.
This proverb of the Navajo Indians is more relevant than ever. I am changing it to amend it: "Choose your thoughts, words, and deeds carefully, for they shape the world. »
In this period of social turbulence, particularly in the latest form of the Yellow Vests, a polymorphous expression of discontent, dialogue is in great demand. However, this dialogue may once again come up against the level of awareness of the use of speech.
The majority of First Peoples who operate orally and in small group settings need modalities of civility and civility to hold together over time. We, with our millions of inhabitants spread anonymously in the cities and with the amplification of social networks, we allow ourselves, with distance and the virtual, to say everything that comes to mind without paying attention to the form. We are caught up in the narcissistic maelstrom of the race for likes and buzz and we lose sight of the fact that we are then the fruit of the manipulation of algorithms and the mimetic effects of comparison and conformity to the acts of others, influencers or not.

"Form" is essential and defines the sustainability of the relationship.

Whether we are an activist or with just one opinion to share, we can only be listened to and taken into account if our words do not hurt others. When we use judgment, criticism, vindictiveness, confrontational debate with deliberately provocative expressions, we divide the audience. We are successful at the audience trick - for a time - but if the goal was to move the debate forward, we risk staying with television programs that create confrontation but not constructive reflection.

An ethic of speech

What we need is to be able to express ourselves by clarifying our intentions, our thoughts, our needs, our opinions, while respecting the relationship with others and caring about the value of our contribution to the collective.
Numerous authors have contributed to a benevolent communication, including the most well-known ones Thomas Gordon (Gordon method) and Marshall B. Rosenberg (Non-violent communication). They highlighted the destructive aspect of words that convey criticism and judgements about others as well as about what they say or do. They invite us to ask ourselves what is affected in us (the needs) in order to find ways to express what is going on deep inside us, with authenticity, while at the same time finding the words to talk about it that do not hurt others and/or the collective.
Only to achieve this, we must, before speaking or writing, think about what we really want to express: how will it bring something to the other and/or the group? If it is only for my personal satisfaction and/or to be an opportunity for an emotional outlet, it doesn't build a lasting, quality relationship.

The teachings of the First Peoples

Since the beginning of time, the First Peoples have always invited us to become aware of the vibration acting through words, and if Navajos like the Kogis or the Masai are so attentive to the words used, it is because they know that their vibratory range shapes the world.
Some First Peoples share with us their teachings on how to approach reality with a mastery of the "mad horse." (we would say "ego") as the Kogis call it. The Navajo Indians invite us to practice the Hozho Way (composed of nine principles: joy, beauty, peace, humor, health, prosperity, harmony, consciousness, love, etc.) on a daily basis. (1)). Seeking to maintain peace and harmony over time leads to paying attention to the words used.
Don Juiz shares the four Toltec chords: "let your word be impeccable", "don't react to anything personally" (don't take anything personally), "don't make any assumptions", "always do your best". Of course, this requires some explanation of the texts, but many books have been published explaining in detail what each principle means.
The Kogi Indians, whose teachings are transmitted by Eric Julien, invite us to meditate on the contribution of our word: "will it help the other (to grow), does it contribute to the collective debate, does it thank or value what has been done? "And if it does not meet any of these three criteria, then it is better to remain silent.
All of these principles, and one could add more, converge towards the fact that our word does not participate in judgments and criticisms, does not use insults and, on the contrary, preserves the relationship and the quality of relationships in the group.
As such, it becomes an ethic of speech to be practiced daily and without moderation in face-to-face dialogues and in social media and networks.
It is therefore possible, following in the footsteps of Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Don Michel Juiz or Marshall Rosenberg, to name but a few, to find the path of words that make sense, that carry all the nuances of our inner states as the Power of our commitments without falling into the coarseness that creates buzz and the insults that generate ratings.

Taking time to think and the will to weave with others

Insults and rudeness spare the path of thought and ambitious communication, which decides to weave with others the thread of the encounter beyond incompatibilities, divergences, apparently antinomic positions.
It seems that we have forgotten the inner path of the Power that allows words to reflect both the intention and the inner thought and state of each one.
We are rich, in all languages, with all the words we need to support our positions. Let us dare the Power that asserts itself and the plurality of nuances of language that invite dialogue rather than discord. Let us dare the arpeggios of the emotions mentioned and let us propose symphonies of diatribes with impeccable vocabulary and deep, inhabited meaning.

Domesticate the force and manifest the power.

Let us rediscover the inner path of the Force, remember Yoda, for contemporary references. Strength means mastery, the discipline of training, as in the martial arts, the willingness to deal with the energy of others without "reacting" but acquiring the saving distance from our emotions on the edge of our skin and from our egotistical needs to make a buzz at all costs.
When, like water, we know how to find the "right" path between obstacles to manifest the power of life, in flow and flow, and deal with what is there in the humility of learning from the living, then the words are no longer those of anger but of poetry that moves the vibrant heart and those of commitment that carries the flame of hope and resilience and not the devastating fire of rage.
Let us choose the saving distance of equanimity that will deliver the rightness of the words, generous caskets of our vibrant inner states, devoid of reactive anger.
Our actions and commitments will bring reconciliation and cross-fertilization of contradictory opinions in the fruitful weaving of creative dialogues.
Let us rediscover the elegance of intelligence which, in its finesse and subtlety, brings the paths of the possible and the horizons of resilience.
Let's try, who knows, we could contribute to raising consciousness!
(1) Channel transmitted in particular by Lorenza Garcia in France

To go further:
- Book" Las mejores palabras. De la libre expresión« by Daniel Gamper, Anagrama, 2019.
- Book "Insults in French: from basic research to its applications "(linguistics, literature, history, law) - Edited by Dominique Lagorgette, Université Savoie-Mont Blanc, 2009
- Book" Aphorisms and insults "by Arthur Schopenhauer" - Foreword by Didier Raymond, 2012

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