Who here would love to never speak or hear again? What, no one? That’s surprising. I thought all of us dummies were the same. I mean-, that is to say I would give up my hearing and voice, the ability to add to or perceive the polyphonic world.
As ridiculous as that statement may sound, it can be truthfully echoed of our culture. The evidence of ignorance toward a degradation of our intelligence would suggest a willingness to acquiesce to a cultural complacency. The world admires the physically strong, not the mentally strong. Most genius is created from isolation, alienation, and a fear of being invisible. I’m not an athlete, I’m an aesthete. My version of a skylarking is skipping rocks into the spindrift of the ocean waves. The blandishments of customary excitements that the cosmopolis offers I would lief forsake. You can hang me by my galluses should I conciliate my behavior by the merits of my intentions. I love words. But I get a vivid presentiment, a foreboding clairvoyance of a culture lost to the carelessness and apathy of bumptious crassness and callous, flippant word usage. Our words die, our civilization dies. The ability to use words is not a transient trait of humans, it is the definition of reason, what sets us apart from all other created things save spirit beings alone.
We can speak, reason, converse, create, form and engineer languages, alphabets, and thereby literature and nations are founded: in that order and upon that premise. There is titivation necessary among the common speech of societies the world over, particularly in the cesspit that is american English. Our euphemisms and usage of illegitimate words… it’s depreciating our societal communication to the primitive age of cave men and androgynous mumbling.
Hi! If we’ve never met before, my name is Jared Allen. I’m a blend of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Who, and Robin Hood. Imagine a manic-depressive, Episcopalian circuit rider melded with a Christian, conservative, homeschooler. Throw in a few Sharpies and a Dr. Pepper and you have a unique breed of alien known as a Jared Allen. As far as science has discovered, there is only one of them in the living universe. You’ve heard of a grammar Nazi, well I’m a word tyrant. This tirade I’ve been on for the first three paragraphs of this post has been fanciful and flowery, but what does it all, mean?
Allow me to explain myself…please.
Writing is a little golden idol of mine that I crucify upon a wooden cross every morning to give it to Christ. Writing is the most significant part of me as an individual, it defines who I am. Strip everything else away and at the core of my character, my personality, my soul, you will find that writing remains. It may be a call of God, or it may be something ingrained in the metadata of who I am; like DNA, an irreplaceable part of my identity. As a writer, words are the most important thing to me; the usage, the creation, resurrection, precision, and definition of a word is essential to proper communication and is infinitely more valuable to the absolving of conflict than force of strength or will. The pen is better at resolving issues than the musket.
I love words. I read the dictionary for fun. Yeah, I’m weird, I admit it.
Words are a dying dynasty. William Shakespeare had a working vocabulary of about 25,000 words. The average working vocabulary in America is roughly 5,000 words. For so long they have been the key to knowledge and success. For millennia they have shaped and molded civilization and changed the face of history. The Bible, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Church Confessions, Pilgrim’s Progress, words formed and shaped the world. The words of many great men, Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Origin, Confucius, William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and Josephus outlived them by hundreds of years and had a greater lasting impact than the men ever had in life. Words are important.
I’m glad you asked. Or-, rather, I’m glad I asked. The reason words are important is this:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
How can they hear if not through words, but not just any words, the Word of God. Jesus calls Himself the Word many times in scripture. He is the Word and He gave me a love for Him and a love for the method of carrying His gospel to the world. Through words, spoken and written we can tell the world what they need so desperately to hear. It’s sad that the world is full of word punching dummies who have been beaten senseless by short, brutal, slang words that seem to be overtaking our globe. I think redeeming the times starts with an education of what words mean. Only when we fully understand each other can we accomplish anything by our words. The greatest judgement upon a person’s stature or intelligence is his education in literacy, seconded by his knowledge of common etiquette.
If all men are created equal, if we are truly to respect one another as equals it is imperative we understand each other fully. How can we ensure that? By knowing what it is we are saying and saying exactly what it is we are meaning. God’s Word never needs enhancement or simplification. His Word is the only perfect Word because it’s meaning is meant to be revealed by the Holy Spirit. Our words don’t have Holy Spirits, thus, to the best of our abilities, in an effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace; if it is possible, as much as lieth on us, to live peaceably with all men: we must make a conscious effort to understand each other. Words matter.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist