Words Matter

Ummm, no. No they don’t.

What matters are two things, intent and action. Words without at least one of those mean nothing whatsoever.

Speaking with intent is easy to define isn’t it? Those words have a purpose. That purpose may be good or bad. Unless the speaker is absolutely clear as to their intent, no one should try to interpret those words as anything. No inferences should ever be made. That’s bad thinking.

Our current PC world no longer works that way. Everyone has to be hyper-aware to whom they are speaking and what they are saying. Jokes? Be careful that there isn’t even an allusion to anything sexual.

We now see “Free Speech Zones” on campuses. University campuses. Places of discussion and debate on any subject. It was that way when I went to university. No more.

A causal comment, overheard by a third party, a stranger walking by, unknowing of the context of the conversation, may get a student suspended, even expelled.

I wonder when this will filter into the public square?

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2 thoughts on “Words Matter

  1. The big challenge with intent is that we can only guess at it, inferring it based on someone’s behavior. I don’t think there is any way to stop ourselves from doing this – it is part of our nature. We’ll be wrong sometimes, as our own biases often get in the way of making accurate inferences about intent (e.g., mistaken first impressions). These biases can wreak havoc on productive communication. For example, the SJWs often seem to assume malicious intent even when there are no hints of it present.

    What has happened on university campuses in the name of PC is truly embarrassing. I have seen firsthand how it degrades some of what used to be the hallmarks of higher education (e.g., encouraging students to challenge their preconceived notions and wrestle with controversial subjects). Few have the stomach to do this anymore; it is too risky.

    • Agreed that we infer intent from behavior but even sometimes that’s difficult to determine. We shouldn’t infer though without at least attempting to determine intent. the problem is there are, ahem, some, that will ascribe a negative intent to anything anyone says or writes. They won’t ask if there’s a question, just assume the worst.

      That’s why I say words, by themselves, mean nothing. If intent is unknown, try to determine what is the intent of the speaker.

      The “evolution” of University campuses are frightening. I’m glad I’m LONG done with that. I’m sure if I were a student today, I’d be expelled before the end of the first week.

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