Words have energy.
Energy attracts and energy creates.
So, I say again, words matter. Words have power.
There was a news story last week regrading the Obama administration that made few headlines (it’s hard to compete with so many stories of money and fear), but from my perspective, it might have been one of the most significant decisions the President has made so far.
From the Washington Post:
The Obama administration has ordered an end to use of the phrase “Global War on Terror,” a label adopted by the Bush administration shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Pentagon officials were sent a memo asking them to please use “Overseas Contingency Operation” instead. While this new phrase may be awkward to say and seem to candy-coat the realities of war to some, I believe this marks the beginning of a move away from the culture of fear present in the United States since 9/11.
(While I was looking for this news story, I came across an excellent article from 2007 that does an excellent job of making the argument of the harm done by these three words. Read it here.)
Because words have power, we must choose them carefully and respect the energy underneath the words. A good way to measure this is to say the word aloud and notice how you feel in saying it. Does it feel good? If it does not, I suggest choosing something that feels better. Our vocabulary to express ourselves is large. Use it to your advantage.
Some words are better avoided all together.
and so on…
Pay attention and you’ll notice that people who throw around words like “hate” (usually unconsciously — like, “oh, I hate it when my Internet is slow”) seem to attract lots of events to complain about.
This brings us to the “War on Terror” (or for that matter “The War on Drugs” or the “War on Cancer, HIV, etc.)
Anywhere where the mindset is “war,” more of the enemy is created. War is a pushing against energy, a fight. Anywhere there is fight, there is resistance, a pushing back. Quite simply, it’s a law of physics (see Newton’s third law of motion — “Whenever a particle A exerts a force on another particle B, B simultaneously exerts a force on A with the same magnitude in the opposite direction”).
In other words, a mindset of war attracts more war. Spoiling for a fight attracts more fighting. If you need evidence of this, take a look at how well the “War on Drugs” policy has worked for America. Billions and billions of dollar spent, lives lost, prisons filled, more billions spent. The bottom line is that America’s appetite for drugs has never been larger and the problem has done nothing but expand. And as long as we’re at “war” we can expect more of the same.
So while eliminating the phrase “war on terror” is mocked as feel-good happy talk in some circles, I think those people fail to understand the power of words.
Because they matter.
Choose them with care.