Monday, October 24, 2011

Burning Ring of Fire

The tongue is a mighty tool that can be used for construction or destruction.  The technological advances we are and have been experiencing in social media are allowing a lot more voices on pedestals to be heard unlike any other time in our history, thus far.  Is it possible that the medium for all these new voices could be damaging?  It really depends on how you view these pedestals all together and how cautious you are of the true power that little muscle in your mouth has.

In the news recently some quack released all his exotic animals in Ohio, lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!  Heiresses stuff their purses with little dogs.  There are now dog bakeries and doggie hotels (kennels).  As a child I thought the circus was kind of gross, however, my fascination of the large and powerful animals doing tricks and jumping through rings of fire kept me going year after year.  It’s amazing how man can tame animals.  But, of all the things man can tame, the tongue remains wild.  Ancient wisdom compares the tongue to many small yet mighty things, a rudder on a ship, a spark that sets a forest ablaze, a bit in a horse’s mouth, and a gushing spring to name a few.  The idea here is that the tongue welds great power, which can do great damage or great good, depending on how it’s managed.  Humanity is endowed with gifts and the world spins on how we manage them, appropriately or inappropriately.  Natural consequences are played out daily as effects of the tongue’s usage build and destroy.  The challenge is whether you chose or even realize the course of action your tongue is taking.

Why are quotes so powerful?  Why is it that there is an entire industry that makes framed “art” that uses wise words of the past?  Words hold great power and can inspire many.  The civil rights movement alone was spearheaded by the great words of Dr. King.  Nelson Mandela’s words lead to great things. Jesus had many words that inspired people.  Many men and women of the past are immortalized by words, products of the tongue that have led to great things.  Contritely though many words have led to demoralization and destruction.  Many drag heavy baggage and bear deep wounds caused by words misused and abused.  A father’s belittling words to a young boy cause many grown men to walk with their heads down.  Many women still bear the burdens of words spoken to girls of their history.  The point here is that words spoken can be harmful as much as they can be inspiring.  Some other ancient wisdom says words are like choice morsels, they go down to a person’s inmost part.  Words spoken even decades ago can sit so firmly wedged into a person’s being that they become immobile.  Words are powerful, the tongue is a great beast, but this brute force and great power can produce beauty if used in the right way.

It’s ironic to have this writing posted on my personal website/blog to begin with.  I am all about personal liberties and think everyone has the right to be heard.  I think the benefit of the new mediums of communication is that there are so many different opinions out there.  I think this creates a better intellectual atmosphere and challenges the status-quot cognitive structure all together.  The concern I have, however, is that words, as powerful as they can be, are also being thrown around like live grenades.  I like the discussions that are created by so many different points of view and relish in the idea of broadened communication.  As much good is done by these comprehensive communications, my apprehension remains that opinions and words are being shared with no forethought or at least no consideration of their power to do both good and bad.  As I peruse the blogosphere, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ my hope is that we will all become more aware of the power of words and use them for construction.  The challenge in all this is; are your words used constructively or destructively?  This doesn’t mean you cannot disagree or offer other opinions; it just challenges us to do so in a constructive way.  This is the way everyone wins.  This is a humbling and sobering thought for me to process, and my hope is you join me in these considerations.

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