Words Matter: Decisions and Choices
Today we hear a lot about decision making or making wise choices and that in itself is a good thing. I regret not being told when I was young that how we live life is played out in an endless series of decision making. If I'd been told that as a child and continually into adulthood, I'm pretty sure my life would have been different...better or at least more fulfilling at an earlier age. However, that was not a highly stressed point for my generation, at least not in my world. Sadly I never thought much about the importance of my making decisions intelligently and with sensible foresight. I should be ashamed to say it but in my younger years I never considered myself making decisions. I was a reactionary by nature. I lived by my emotions which were usually the rudder of my unrealized decision making. I admit, I was pathetically clueless that what I did then, would affect my life now. It didn't dawn on me that choices I made had an impact on more than just my little world at that particular moment in time. Before I developed a Kingdom of God worldview, I equated decision making with all the importance of picking which flavor ice cream I wanted from Baskin Robbins. So the chatter about making good decisions is a necessary one, especially in these tumultuous times of constant media manipulation and online overkill. Yet, I noticed that I don't see a whole lot of emphasis on what really directs human decision making. The world of marketing sure knows how to influence people.
"Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement." Will Rogers
One of my most used mantras is, "Words matter and language is import." In this culture we are inundated with manipulative jargon from merchandising to politics we hear trendy terminology made to sway our thinking into their court of buying, behaving or voting. We are, sometimes subtly other times boldly, led to make decisions for the benefit of others without thought of what we're doing. Advertisers use this ploy all the time. So does sales people, politicians and even your bosses and kids. We are manipulated from the front door to the back so my question would be, "When are we making intelligent unemotional and practical decisions on our own without a push?"
Today, they way people use words to manipulate, as obvious as it is, goes right over most people's heads. Why? Because most of us don't actively try to expand our vocabularies. Basic English and vocabulary has remained since way back but speech evolves and our knowledge of how words are used has to keep up the pace. Slang terms is one thing we realize changes from generation to generation. Still, in this day of fast paced change, we have new pockets of language that emerged into our verbal landscape. As the culture is redesigned, aspects of the language is reinvented as well. Look at how we have new sexual orientation terminology which is still evolving. Technology has brought with it a specific language that even not-tech-savvy folks like me need to grasp. In a world where the basics of our language are scarcely learned properly , its easy to take language and use it for any agenda out there. Humans respond to well spoken words whether the words are worthy or not. The brain processes the words of what you read or hear but the emotions are what reacts to them. Needs being met, fears allayed, opinions expressed and desires being satiated, that's the stuff fueling most of our choices if we're honest. With the rightly placed words in the rightly structured sentences, we can be led to make the right decisions...or are they?
The world preys on our insecurities, fears and greedy natures and they do it all with words and some images. Those catch phrases you hear that give you a specific impression or emotion. Those visual images that flash in your face that clog your brain with unnecessary ideas and desires. And the most insidious of all is the implied comments that make you feel some kind of way, as the old saying used to go. So my last question would be, "How much of our decision making is actually our unmanipulated independent thought process?" I'm just sayin'