Changing words can change perception

Changing the words we use is purely symbolic


Changing words can change perception

People only have control over themselves. You should not force anything on other people. You have derogatory terms for me and there is nothing I can do about it. Nor do I wish to force anyone to address me in a contrived manner.

Minority or marginalized groups are only possible if you see the world in the Marxist terms of the oppressor or oppressed. Trouble is people are complex and do not fit into nice tidy boxes (groups). Changing the order the boxes are stacked doesn’t make them equal, it just changes who is on the top or bottom. Seeing people as equal but unique individuals. (The smallest most vulnerable minority) leads to equality.

I keep bringing up eugenics because it is a historical example of what box thinking has done. (Horrific things.) Women’s right to vote is because women were no longer in their separate box. Marriage is no longer confined to its own box.

Changing the words we use is purely symbolic and has no impact on the underlying issue; it only changes people’s perceptions. Totalitarian regimes of the 20th century employed such language tactics as a means of control over their population. Orwell illustrated the concept of controlling people’s perception by language manipulation in the book Nineteen Eighty-Four.

“Language does not simply write and think for me, it also increasingly dictates my feelings and governs my entire spiritual being the more unquestioningly and unconsciously I abandon myself to it… Words can be like tiny doses of arsenic; they are swallowed unnoticed, appear to have no effect, and then after a little time the toxic reaction sets in after all.” Shaming anyone into using a particular vocabulary is a form of manipulation altering their perceptions of what is real.

“…communist ideology has shaped the linguistic habits of people and their perception of reality, and it will require both time and conscious effort to change them. And while nobody challenges the view that Nazism was a criminal system, there are still people who believe in communist ideology. We see them marching in Moscow with pictures of Lenin, Stalin, and Putin. We also find them in the West, especially among intellectuals, whom Orwell described as ‘more totalitarian-minded than the common people’ and whom Hayek called ‘professional second-hand dealers in ideas,’ criticising the errors of the communist practice but defending communist ideals.”

S. Innis