PAGE IN PROGRESS What you see here is a page of my hypertext book POWER of meanings // MEANINGS of power. Initially empty, this page will slowly be filled with thoughts, notes, and quotes. One day, I will use them to write a coherent entry, similar to these completed pages. See this post to better understand my creative process. Thank you for your interest and patience!
language having power us - This is an example of macropower
By analyzing language we learn about people; what it important to them (language is meant to express what’s important, what is not important to people is difficult to express)
When do we know when language confuses us or gives us a hint: - power of sight - power of her beauty
Barthes "Death of the Author"
Separate discussion: power of language, language of power, words can hurt, changing language to make society a better place (inclusivity, debates about political correctness)
Language has power over us because we cannot choose to say whatever we want. If we want to talk about something really complicated, we often struggle to express ourselves. Words and their combinations just don't capture what we are trying to say. When we read scholars who use very complex language, we sometimes (often?) blame them for not having anything substantial to say. As one person I know used to say (I am paraphrasing): "If you cannot express your thoughts clearly, perhaps you don't really have any thoughts worth expressing". But there might be another explanation: language is a very crude tool that we use to understand the world and ourselves. We have created this tool the way it is because of our limited abilities as human beings, of our limited power. And now we find ourselves at the mercy of this tool (but really, at the mercy of or affected by our own limitations) as we are trying to do what language was meant to accomplish.
Language as a tool, but a tool that is given to us. We do not fully possess it, it possesses us. We do not quite use it, it uses us. Other people speak through us in our every utterance. If we try to rebel, we discover that language limits our attempts to think what others have not thought about and say things that others did not say. Luckily, language has a degree or malleability. It is changing all the time. As we are trying to challenge what can be said and thought, we can potentially exploit this malleability, although there is really no simply way to do that, and no simple way to determine whether we have succeeded.
Language used for analysis of complex phenomena like power: it is not meant for such analysis. It’s like a looking glass: you try to see something smaller than what the looking glass supposed to magnify, and you just see a blur
I feel forced by language to simplify in order to properly understand. To make sense of the extreme complexity of what we call power, I have to first sacrifice my ability to speak about the complexity that I am trying to understand. It is a very annoying paradox. I can only hope that this sacrifice will eventually pay off.
Challenges of equality language: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lost-debate/id1591300785?i=1000603518339 https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2023/04/equity-language-guides-sierra-club-banned-words/673085/ How can you fight for a better world if you cannot name the problem in a clear and comprehensive way?