22 June 2011

The importance of words

Quine, Wittgenstein, Rorty, and many others spent most of their careers arguing the semantics of words. What they truly missed is the actual importance of words. Amongst many of the Native American tribes conversations take hours, not because of the number of words spoken, but because of the rarity of them. They weigh the importance of every single word. They assign it importance.

In this age we send 140 characters at a time at each other and have begun to cease calling. We have shortened phrases to acronyms. We waste words. We write long blog entries about utter inanity. We look at pictures of cats with funny phrases that use acronyms.

But words have importance. We have forgotten this. Speeches that move us are filled with words that matter. Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King strung together words that changed a nation. Martin Luther strung together words that changed an entire religious sect.

But on social media we toss words around. We tell nobodies that we are looking at a car or eating somewhere they never will or try to seduce on a dating site.

We are losing the importance of words.

Think about the person you love and think about the last words you said to them or sent to them. Are those the words that you want them to remember should they be the last words you utter/send? Are those words worthy of that?

Sadly I am betting they are not. But mine are.