Language is like life itself. It can be used for self-exploration, for benevolent and practical communication with peers—or for extraction and warfare.
Both collaboration and extraction can be physical or emotional.
Let’s talk about extraction.
Physical extraction is easy to define, it’s something like robbery.
Examples of non-physical extraction are forced conformism, suppressed creativity, and other situations in which human beings do not express what they feel or desire, so as not to risk their lives or livelihoods. This way, one person’s natural creative expression is metaphorically rerouted to benefit somebody else, not for love but for fear.
When language is used for extraction, it is designed as a weapon of war.
For the sake of this mini-plot, I want to focus on usage of language for war and violence, i.e. imposing one’s will on others.
There are different types of violence.
#1 Direct physical violence:
“Die, and I’ll take what I want.”
#2 Threat of physical violence:
“If you don’t give it to me, you die.”
#3 Economic violence:
“If you don’t give it to me, you stop eating.”
“If you don’t give it to me, you are a horrible person. But if you do, you should be proud of yourself and praised by all!”
#5 Redistribution of dignity:
“Doesn’t it hurt to not have that important thing? Of course it does. Hey I am on your side! I tell you what, it is all because of them, and I authorize you to take it back!”
Invaders and leaders of openly totalitarian societies love #1 and #2.
Modern democracies have used #1 and #2 in the past a lot—against whomever they have proclaimed to be inferior—and currently are piling on #3.
Campaigning politicians and “good” causes interpreted algorithmically (usually for career building and self-promotion), are big on #4 and #5.
None of the five are conducive to proper social balance or happiness!
When either one is used against a population or a person, it is synonymous to declaring that population or person an enemy.
If we are all effectively each other’s enemies, we are all alone. 🙁
Photo by Jonny Caspari on Unsplash / Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash