The Hypnosis of Language

mandellaonlanguage

Language itself is one of the greatest foundations of society. The structure of society often reflects the structure of the language and syntax. Foucault argues that sociologically, language determines how society forms itself based on the chosen words a legal or political system uses to communicate with the general populous. Lukaszewski argues that positive words gets better results than negative ones – or at least faster and lasting results. Hogan did a lecture on how using certain phrases causes others to believe you perceive their ideas as important, and thus the language communication is more effective in getting what you want.

Various scientists have analysed the theories, and over the last decade or two, diverse results can be seen. Many of us limit our perception of societies and cultures to politics and law, but to go one step deeper, the basis for everything is what humans have in common – language. Whether it be English, Chinese, French, German, or even body language and sign language, each system has a structure, and that is: how the ideas are communicated through words.

It is arguable that many people read body language more than words, but people respond to words more than body language. However, systems are created based on language structure. Generally speaking, English is a diverse language – it is split into formal and colloquial, British and American, conversational and technological. (Refer to my 2013 article on The Evolution of The English Language for a brief breakdown). American English uses active voice and heavy diction, therefore the American culture is perceived to be more assertive and aggressive when communicating. British English uses passive voice and is heavily derived from Classic English Literature, and the culture is thusly more reserved and private. The Chinese language, in terms of writing, is based on stroke order, prefixes, and suffixes. When a child, at the age of three, learns to write his or her name in Chinese, he or she first learns stroke order. The brain slowly conditions itself to memorise structure and order, combined with breaking down the characters and reconstructing a new word. The Chinese education system, therefore, stresses memorisation and breakdown-construct. French is a philosophical and artistic language, and the culture is quite aesthetic and philosophical in their thinking. German language is structured and complex, hence historical Germany were militarily strong.

One thing every language has in common though, is positive versus negative. Human nature is defiant and rebellious: we are innately programmed to do what we shouldn’t do. Schools create rebels because they often say “Don’t do this” or “don’t do that” instead of “If you do this, a consequence will happen”. When communicating with children and youth, telling them not to eat junk food will make them want to eat junk food. However, if a young child is told that vegetables are junk, and McDonald’s is healthy, the child will naturally opt for vegetables after a period of time. Legal language has succeed in this area for the phrasing itself is as simple as “if you commit this crime, you will serve this maximum punishment”. It offers people a choice, not an absolute. Humans need choices because people want recognition: recognition for making a good choice rather than just robotically doing as told (Fukuyama).

When communicating, it is suggested that we use relate words so as to maximize the greatest outcome for both sides, primarily ourselves. If children hate homework, call it a “mission”, “task”, or “project”. They will feel a sense of accomplishment. If teenagers believe that rules are made to be broken, give them “guidelines” and “suggestions”. If you want someone to help you, ask for it, don’t demand it. If you want to persuade someone, simply say “don’t  you think this would be a good idea?” instead of “I think this is a good idea”. People care more about what they think than what you think, so make them believe that it was their idea.

In sum, language is a large basis for the way our world works, and if used correctly, we can maximise the greatest outcomes for ourselves.

Thinking it is nothing, knowing it is something, and doing it is everything.

Mikavelli

References:
1. Foucault – The Archeology of Knowledge
2. Bacal – Using Positive Language
3. Lukaszewski – The Strategic Power of Positive Language
4. Mikavelli – The Evolution of The English Language

Everybody Lies – But Why?

Lie to me and tell me that it’s gonna be alright.
~David Cook~

The inability to communicate candidly simply in fear of the other person’s reaction is merely a reflection of our own insecurities manifesting. We fear the other’s reaction because we don’t want a living reminder of how we would react – thus we create a scenario where we simply hope that our own reactions will be, later on, reflected in their own behaviour.

As I’ve said many a time, everybody lies. It’s merely the reasons behind the indiscretion that lead oneself to wonder, “What did I do to cause this lie?”

Everyone lies for a reason – most, to avoid responsibility or repercussions of a delayed, ambiguous reaction. Some lie to cover up a story they know should be falsified; others lie because admitting their true feelings out loud “makes it real.”

Everybody lies, but why?

The reality of truth, when analysed by philosophers or political scientists, is often a reference to macro-scale deceit where the government, or its representatives hold a position of responsibility and “trust.” Those in power are the so-called roll models of trust. Paradoxically, those are the ones in which society deems “the Best Liars.”

Politically speaking, “untruths” are mere ways of phrasing certain words to skirt around the law – to justify a questionable cause by masking the true motive.

Socially speaking, “lies” exist for the sole purpose of ego. I coin the term “ego” casually because it refers, not simply to the arrogance of the fickle human mind, but to the perpetual strive for self-recognition (Fukuyama, 1992). Lies exists because we, as humans, have an undying instinct for survival, and perhaps the world is not as barbaric or anarchic as Hobbes described in Leviathan, but ultimately the human sub-subconscious does not (and will not) eradicate the strive for survival. That said, social survival is the new mask of “being alive.” Ergo, lies exists for the sake of social survival, because it is in our instinctive nature to avoid social conflict.

Religiously speaking (and I draw the following from one of the most Ancient – and well known – religions in the world): Christianity. Religiously speaking, lies exist because Satan was known as the “Prince of Darkness.” What this entails is one of the largest “sins” : dishonesty. However, the Daoist philosophy is that there can be no light without the balance of darkness, and vice versa. In other words, there can be no absolute truth without the presence of a lie. The world, our humanity, is imperfect (Christians will argue that it was not meant to be as such), but alas, humans as they are are imperfect and flawed. Perfection cannot exist without the existence of imperfection. This, is true perfection – to incorporate all aspects of human nature: The good, the bad, the ugly truth.

Thus, will that’s said and done, how this relates to the simplicity of a single human lie. Why do we lie?

Even the simplest of ideas can have the deepest and mind-blowing theories. And the beauty of theory, is that it is mere conjecture, speculation, calculation, rationalisation. It is not necessarily a fact, rather a string of facts concocted to explain an experience that is meant to be experienced.

And therefore, by simply adding fanciful academic words, using obsolete yet decorative diction, man has, over the years, learned to evolve language and shape it in such a way that humans can be lead to believe almost any lie. Even Foucault, over the last century, devised a political and social theory of its own simply based on the Linguistic aspect of “Post-Structualism” : simply put, how language has shaped the actual structure of modern society.

Again, to adopt another religious philosophy, if us as humans were to speak only the truth, as suggested in the Hindu “Naraka,” a realm where lies do not exist and there is absolutely no method of creating falsified statements, would we as humans simply lose our essence of creativity? Are lies not simply a darker route straying from “creativity,” from “fiction” ? To those who feel the need to justify and rationalise each and every lie, those who think like lawyers and find a way to skirt around “the rules”; those who think like politicians and know how to touch up their phrasing in hopes of persuading the slightly less educated; those who think like academics who string ideas and thoughts together – create hypothesis; those who create art out of nothingness; those who are capable of writing the next best seller.

Are we not all creators of our own world? If so, are we not all liars, fundamentally?

Can we go too far to find what is waiting here?
A little fall from grace on the longest night
Did we go too far to find what is waiting here?
We’ll take a little time to open up again.
~Howie Day~