Language is an incredibly powerful thing. And perhaps none said it better than Ludwig Wittgenstein who was perhaps the greatest analytical philosopher of the 20th century, who encapsulated the power of language with the words, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”
Language is essential for developing broad concepts and abstract thinking. And spoken language provides a set of rules to help us organize those thoughts into logical constructs. And the words a person uses have a direct influence on his or her mind and how the individual views the world. But the influence of language doesn’t stop there because the words we choose, not only provides a framework for an individual’s thoughts, but they also affect the values and beliefs of a society itself.
But does language create differences in thought, or is it the other way around? The answer, it turns out, is both—the way we think influences the way we speak, but the influence also goes the other way. The past decade has seen a host of ingenious demonstrations establishing that language indeed plays a causal role in shaping cognition. Studies have shown that changing how people talk changes how they think. For instance, teaching people new color words changes their ability to discriminate colors, while teaching people a new way of talking about time gives them a new way of thinking about it.
I don’t know if George Orwell was a disciple of Wittgenstein, but two years after the philosopher’s death, Orwell wrote the novel 1984, wherein he portrayed the perfect totalitarian society, the most extreme realization imaginable of a modern-day government with absolute power; one in which the government monitors & controls every aspect of human life to the extent that even having a disloyal thought is against the law.
1984 is a bleak and dark future where technology exists in the public realm only as a tool for the elite to control society. And in the 74 years since 1984 was published, much of what Orwell imagined has come to fruition, including, ubiquitous telescreens, monitoring devices of all kinds, cell phone tracking, facial recognition, auto-transcription, artificial intelligence, and many other manifestations.
~ Language as Mind Control ~
George Orwell understood that language is of central importance to human thought because it structures and limits the ideas that individuals are capable of formulating and expressing. Orwell also theorized that if control of language were centralized in a political agency, that agency could alter the very structure of language and make it impossible to even conceive of disobedient or rebellious thought. In his book, the idea that there would be no words with which to think these thoughts was manifest as the language of Newspeak, with the ultimate goal that no one will be capable of conceptualizing anything that might question the Party’s absolute power. Far-fetched? Absolutely, but let’s look at what we see around us in the world of woke.
Did you know that in North Korea there are no official words for tyranny, trauma, depression, or love? As Yeonmi Park writes in her insightful book While Time Remains, “Millions of North Koreans might be hungry and scared, but they don’t have the vocabulary to articulate or imagine a different way of living.” And just like Orwell’s 1984, this is precisely the object of the cancel culture in America – to deprive people of the right or the ability to express thoughts that run counter to the official leftist narrative.
At a recent congressional hearing on “Birthing While Black,” nearly every politician used the words “birthing people” instead of “women” or “mothers.” Asked why, Biden’s budget director, said, “Our language needs to be more inclusive.” Meanwhile, activists have also changed “equality” to “equity” and “affirmative action” to “diversity.” Worse yet, certain speech is now labeled as “violence,” e.g., just referring to a transgender woman, as a man is “an act of violence,” according to some transgender activists.
~ Even ReMax has gone woke ~
My wife and I recently moved to Tucson, and while house hunting, I asked the listing broker of a home we were interested in, “How big is the master bedroom?” without missing a beat, the ReMax broker, a young woman in her early thirties replied, “the PRIMARY bedroom, (emphasis on primary) is about 350 square feet.” No question this woman voted for Joe Biden.
The transition in our language is going through is mind-bending; wokeness takes familiar words and fills them with a new ideological content. ‘The word inclusion for instance, has the common meaning of ‘all people are welcome,’ but to the woke it means ‘a space that restricts speech.’ After all, how can everyone feel included if speech is allowed that causes certain people members to feel offended, and therefore excluded? So, to be truly inclusive, it’s damn the First Amendment, certain words and phrases must be restricted, begging the questions of just who is to make those decisions, a speech czar appointed by Joe Biden?
John Stossel relates the story of students at the University of Illinois-Chicago who recently became upset because law professor Jason Kilborn included the N word, with only the first letter shown, in an exam on employment discrimination. His presentation had been the same for ten years. But this year, one student said she “had to seek counsel immediately after the exam to calm myself.” Claiming victimhood, the students demanded the professor be punished. He was. And the law school suspended him in the name of “social justice.”
Complicity is another favorite of the woke. In common parlance it means active involvement in something, but in Wokeish it means benefitting from systems that oppress. Folks, what’s occurring in America is far more than just being “politically correct,” we are witnessing the birth of American Newspeak – in many ways, Orwell was way ahead of his time.
Quote of the day: “At its heart, wokeness is divisive, exclusionary, and hateful. It basically gives mean people a shield to be mean and cruel, armored in false virtue.” – Elon Musk