Words are: Why we are
Words are why we are here.
But how it happened is the secret of the wordless because when it happened, storytelling hadn’t been invented yet.
To understand what that means, we must return to when it all began.
The wordless managed the first 99.9997% of the energy and time on Earth without us. Some of us believe that is why it took them so long – 4.65 billion years – to come up with words in the first place. Kidding aside, for the purpose and scope of this user manual, it is the birth of Earth that started the stimulus-response also known as the past or evolution:
- The elements (fire, air, wind, water)
- The cells
- The plants
- The animals
- The eyes
- The brain
When the above are read from top to bottom, they are the stimuli.
When read from the bottom up, they are the responses.
Why did the wordless invent words only after they had already invented the cells, plants, animals, eyes, and brains first? What made them decide the right time for words on Earth had come approximately 13,750 years ago?
When it happened, only what spoke the first word on Earth – presumably an animal of the homo type – was there and the witnesses have long gone. That it happened, we can bet our money on, but why is a mystery.
- Until the invention of words, the wordless had the planet all to themselves, but now they have to share it with us.
- The appearance of words has forever divided Earth into the wordless and the wordy.
- Just as “the chicken was the egg’s idea for getting more eggs” (Marshall McLuhan), so the word-users are word’s idea for getting more words.
The last thing the word can be accused of is to have fallen asleep on the job of going forth and multiply.
On the contrary, words have multiplied from absent to billions – according to those who claim to have counted them – in just the 0.0003% of the Earth-Time they have been around.
As if by coincidence, in the same 0.0003% of Earth-Time, the word-users have also multiplied from absent to billions.
The two events, the growth in the number of words and in the number of word-users at the same time, seem to be related. What appears obvious is that words couldn’t have done it without the word-users, and the word-users couldn’t have done it without the words.
Stimulus-response rules. The above, too, when read from top to bottom, are the stimuli, and when read from the bottom up, the responses, each serving word’s idea of more words.
The internet is the most successful because it gobbles up, stores, and disseminates more words faster than all of the previous responses combined.
Word is: You
Once the passage from Before Words to After Words is complete…
Words are how you aim at what you’re looking for.
Before Words, you don’t exist for self-evident reasons.
After Words, everything is different not because you are different, but because you have words. Of course, it is not just you. There are no passengers on planet Earth, we are all wordless or wordy together.
That is where your freedom is, because there are decisions to be made.
According to the internet, you is “a second-person pronoun” (Wikipedia), “a person or group of people” (Merriam-Webster), “the subject or object of a verb” (Oxford Learners Dictionaries), or “the dative and accusative plural of þu” (Etymology Online).
According to words, you is you. But that is not all. You is unique and here is why: When you know how you works, you know how every other word works, at the same time.
Keep in mind “all one,” which you are, is spelled “alone” for reasons only the grammarians and their bosses know.
No pun intended, you won’t let you down.
Words: The purpose of
In the wordless world, purpose is absent for self-evident reasons.
Trying to figure out the purpose of words is like trying to understand the purpose of our ancestor, brains, eyes, animals, plants, cells, elements, planet, and past.
On the upside, no-one will stop you. On the downside, it might distract you from what matters.
The purpose of you matters more than all other purposes rolled into one.
A decision is all it takes.
Nobody else can make it for you.
The rest is technique.
Words are not: Language
Words are not language. Because it is so obvious, it sometimes gets inadvertently overlooked: Language is already taken by language.
Believing a word is another is a mistake because it prevents you from understanding the first thing about either.
The one idea you can steal from words not being language is mistaking a word for another is never a good idea. It is rather like mistaking your best friend for your worst enemy however, with a big difference: Your best friend will tell you about it, but words keep quiet for self-evident reasons.
Because it only prevents you from understanding the first thing about either explains why thinking a word is another is never a good idea.
To believe, for example, in fake news would be forgetting fake doesn’t describe news. Fake describes fake people no matter what they’re doing with their lives.
Mistake a word for another? Words say, “BIG mistake!”
Don’t do it.
Words are: Joke
A word is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it is not that good.
Words are: Power
Where words are, there is power.
Where power is, there are words.
“1%=99%” is the formula used, these days, mostly to describe where the money is, however, it equally applies to power.
When words were new, all the power went straight to who could read and write—the original one percent.
That is how “1%=99%” got started, and power has been on the heels of words ever since, with a couple of shifts in power along the way.
For the first couple of thousand years, the power was in the hands of the 1% who knew from the start in the beginning is the word.
When storytelling was invented, that original 1% owned the storytellers, and 5,000 years ago, when writing got added to the mix, they owned the papyrus, scribes, seals, and messengers required. A little later yet, 582 years ago, the early printing presses were also priced with the 1% in mind.
At long last, everything changed when the typewriter showed up and turned everybody into a storyteller. Thus, 153 years ago, the power shifted from the old 1% to the new 1% who began using words outside of the old structures to produce encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works.
Closest to us, the internet changed everything again. Though made of words and the world’s most-read reference work, on the internet, words by themselves no longer matter.
The newest 1%, also known as “The Big Tech,” aren’t powerful because they have a lot of words, but because they have a lot of words about you.
As we speak, it is all about you as is, and you are on the ball with me, so is this user manual.
Where might the power be at time of writing?
Regardless of percentage, how they treat you is their power.
How you respond is yours.
Words are: Everything and Nothing
Who was first, the wizard of Oz, or the wizard of words?
Well, when words were new, anyone could come up with a new one. Every child could do it. Be it as it may, it didn’t take our ancestors long to figure out there are two types of words.
The 1st word-type: The words for the things you can hear, smell, taste, touch, and see.
The 2nd word-type: Words that require IQ.
Scrolling back the years to 10,000 years ago, keep in mind that at the time, eye cue reigned supreme and IQ hadn’t been invented yet.
1st type of words: Sun
With the 1st type of words, it didn’t take our ancestor long to discover that when you repeatedly say “sun” while pointing at it, the need for the sun fades away and your audience can be made to see a sun just by saying the word.
Thus, tele-vision was invented.
Many believe tele-vision is a recent invention, however, nothing could be farther from the truth. Call our ability to make assumptions a type of delusional trance or simply being mistaken, fact is:
“The soul never thinks without a picture.” – Aristotle
Though Aristotle put it in words for everybody to see only much later, our ancestor had already bitten into the apple, hence knew about words’ tele-vision feature, from the sun, 10,000 years before the invention of TV 94 years ago.
2nd type of words: Truth
Anyone could come up with truth, but to make others believe truth not only exists, but in a book you have a copy of, then as now, poses a different challenge altogether.
For example, you could say purple cow without breaking a sweat, but getting your audience to believe what you said took work, maybe more than we’ll ever know.
At the time, to believe, our ancestors demanded proof, that is, they demanded to see it with their own two eyes.
That means, for a start, that our ancestor who came up with purple cow had to paint a cow purple first, and then take the cow to the audience, or the audience to the cow, hoping it wouldn’t rain. Imagine the time and energy just to get that first purple cow into people’s heads. However, it was worth every minute and calorie because if it weren’t for the purple cow, we’d still demand proof.
Whether a word happened or not doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that it is true.
Once it worked with truth, the race was on for what the children (the younger the better) should hear at school. That is how storytelling began, and with it…
… Earth’s longest-lasting beauty contest ever. As well as the most divisive and deadliest.
I’m not suggesting competing stories are how marketing began. All I’m saying is everything marketing knows, it knows from the marketing of words.
Everything is a word. Nothing is a word. That, I think says more about words than a word-user ever could.
Words are: Thoughts
In the word-less world, also known as evolution, nature, or the wild, thoughts don’t exist for self-evident reasons.
Among the word-users, the tendency is to think it is our thinking that got us here, makes us unique, and separates us from the word-less, that is from everything except us.
Or as Henry Ford would have it, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Put differently, the priority of the conditioned mind is to be right.
Kidding aside, thinking matters, of course, but at the same time everybody knows that the world we live in—complete with the promoters of “Life sucks and then you die,” “The doomsday clock is nearer to apocalypse than ever,” “I see no hope for the future”—is, in fact, the world of our own making, and it won’t be changed, let alone made better, by the same thoughts that create it.
To believe, as if in the beginning were the thought, it is our thinking that got us here would be forgetting what got us here in the first place.
We cannot change what is. In the beginning is the word no matter what. But you can tip the balance in your favor.
Think good words.
“Words become works.” – Seneca
Words are: Dream
The wordless don’t dream for self-evident reasons.
In the wordy world, dreams are where meaning is absent. That makes dreams the only place to go where the absence of meaning is a feature. Meaning gets attached to dreams after the dream is over, is usually how it works.
On top of that, dreams come in a variety of shapes and sizes—fleeting, deep, profound, day, night, and life-changing.
While this explains the popularity of dreams, it also confirms we don’t live in a dream-world.
We live in a word-world.
Words are: Numbers
Numbers are a word-class apart for a number of reasons.
The wordless use them
Pine-cones, broccoli, lilies, roses, daisies, and marigolds, to name a few, have used the Fibonacci number, also known as the golden number, for as long as they can remember.
Without a brain? Before Fibonacci figured it out? Who would have thought? But that’s not all.
Numbers are clear
In contrast to the times a word-user mistakes a word for another, which is in the thousands, the times a word-user mistakes zero for one, or one for a dozen, can be counted on the fingers of a hand or two.
Things have changed
Mathematicians used to believe the universe is written in math and the uni-verse should be called uni-math instead. But things have changed. Even the mathematicians now agree math is a word.
Words are: Pictures
The wordless invented pictures long before they invented words to describe them with.
That, we know from cave paintings that are 30,000 years older than the first words on Earth. But it took the invention of many words before pictures could achieve what is now taken for granted:
A picture speaks a thousand words.
It’s not a magic trick, it’s what word-users do — they love to use their words.
Word is: Missing
Although words are why we are here, they are missing from what we consider a historic event, an epic invention, a wonder of the world, a great story ever told, or a topic worth being taught at school.
The reason is simple: We don’t value things, we value their meaning.
Without meaning, nothing happens — which explains the current state of the word in the world.
Words are: Older than stories
Stories tend to get mistaken for evidence, and we often treat them that way.
Mistaking _____ (fill in the blank) for what it is not, is a common mistake, but that doesn’t make it right.
With stories, it is merely a mistake. But with words, well, it is beyond words because words are older than stories and, therefore, can tell you more about you than a story ever could.
For who you are, you have stories, names, family, friends, school, and government to help you figure it out.
But what you are is all up to you.
Many are struggling with it because it depends on whom you ask.
When you ask the internet, you are human, body, mind, spirit or, 25.27 billion results at Google.
When you ask stories, you are an accident, from Mars, from Venus, the 1, the 99, the world, the champion, and the list goes on.
When you ask words, you is you.
Before Words, you doesn’t exist for self-evident reason.
After Words, it is still only a word, nevertheless, you know first-hand how it came about, also known as knowing your roots.
Though an estimated 400 generations apart, we and our ancestor are one and the same — wordless in the beginning, wordy in the middle, and wordless again in the end.
Knowing your roots is as good as having them and, for that, words have the stories blowing in the wind.
Words are: Stimulus
…describes what’s going on in the wordless and the wordy worlds alike.
Had we failed to respond to our most pressing stimuli — such as breathing in and out, staying alive, social media, fire, and the smell of fresh bread — we wouldn’t be here. Had the grass we walked on failed to respond, it wouldn’t be here. Asleep or awake, it seems stimulus-response happens everywhere 100% of the time.
I have no clue why that is. Nevertheless, I think it’s important because words play a big part in it.
In the wordless world, words don’t exist for self-evident reasons.
In the wordy world, we try to respond not only to every wordless stimulus, but also to words, at the same time.
Meditating on serenity will get you there.
“The serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Serenity prayer
What you respond to, the stimulus, is outside of anybody’s control. We may call the weather anything we want, severe, mild, or boring, you cannot change it.
But how you respond is all up to you. There is no weather or third party involved.
That’s where your freedom is. But that’s not all.
Seeing the difference between stimulus and response also allows you to decide your response ahead of time, and when you do, many decisions are already made.
Words paint a different picture
We begin wordless, and even after that, only the area around our mouths becomes wordy.
It is our fate. Words are a gift we’re meant to keep. We don’t have a choice. There is no escape.
The rest of us remains as wordless as it’s always been.
To connect, to be connected, and to stay connected with both the wordless and the wordy worlds, at the same time, this is as good as it gets.
Words aren’t involved in the word-users touching their face several hundred times a day without noticing it. And our words don’t know where we’re going. The knowing are our hands, faces and feet, just like the hands, faces and feet of the wordless, however, with a difference: We can talk about it.
Nothing else on Earth even comes close.
Word is: Placebo
In the wordless world, placebo doesn’t exist for self-evident reason.
Among the wordy, everything a placebo can do — it can change your blood pressure, your mood, your heart rate, your focus, or your thoughts, to name a few — a word can do faster. Which might explain words’ uncanny ability to influence us more than an influencer can.
Of course, words can save lives and do a million other things that placebos cannot, however, knowing it is a placebo is identical to knowing it is a word. It isn’t the end of the placebo or of the word, but it is the end only of how you used to respond to it.
Placebos are everywhere — animals, mountains, and toys that talk, promised lands, reality, social media, fake news, artificial intelligence, natural history, and life, to name a few — and here to stay. Wishing them away is something only a moron would think about. The best you can do is have fewer of them.
For the ones we’ve fallen for it is too late for they have already worked their magic. Many a word-user’s blood pressure, mood, heart rate, focus, and thoughts have been successfully placebo-ed already.
But what will the word masters come up with next?
Your guess is as good as mine, but when you know it will be words, you are better prepared than most.
Words are: Policed
Ever since they first appeared, words have been the most policed on Earth, more than any behavior, substance, or drug. “In the beginning is the word” explains why, or as Rupert Kipling would have it, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
It is not merely about interest in drugs, of course. The word-police objective is control of the word-user, that is you and me.
Pre-internet, the policing of words was a manual affair. Imagine that! Keeping up with words took armies of people who could read and write (the exception at the time). It also cost an arm and a leg and, therefore, was the exclusive domain of the 1% who could afford it. Sure, the reward system at the time — get paid in gold and land the chief said was his — made it affordable, but that’s about chiefs, a different story entirely.
Because the internet gobbles up, stores, and disseminates more words faster than anything invented for that purpose before, after the internet, word-polices have sprouted like mushroom after the rain. Ultra-low barriers to entry means anyone with wifi and a handheld device — whether religion, government, service, corporation, league, association, individual, private, public, or secret — can have or be a word-police now.
“Who polices the word-police?” I think is rather like asking “Who polices the mushroom?” and also about as unlikely to get answered.
Those who say it is to keep us safe, and are honest about it, clearly also exist. But in large part, I think it is about keeping us on the straight and narrow.
Depending on where you live, that might be all there is to it.
The games people play
Some of the word-watchers aren’t actual word-police, but instead they are watching the internet for opportunities to act offended, defamed, broken-hearted, having their feathers ruffled or their fury raised, or hurt in some other way, by a word they’ve worked hard to locate.
Don’t get involved. They are only playing the blame game and you’ve got better things to do. Ignore them if you can, but make no mistake about it, they all want the same thing: For you to not use your senses and words… or to at least keep quiet when you do.
As we speak
Just because some of us are paranoiacs, that doesn’t mean the word-police is an illusion — as too many in many countries only know too well.
Pay with e-money, use the ‘puter, click the internet, win a race, break a leg… every breath we take, every vow we break, somebody is watching us.
Freedom of speech begins with freedom of words.
Once you decide fear is out of the question, your only options are joy and quitting.
“Like primitive, we now live in a global village of our own making, a simultaneous happening. It doesn’t necessarily mean harmony and peace and quiet, but it does mean huge involvement in everybody else’s affairs.” – Marshall McLuhan
Words are: Free
Except when a word is made key and offered back to you at a price, words are free.
Kidding aside, it is not about keywords. The point is: The freedom of words is under threat.
Freedom stops where the freedom of others begins, that is the trade-off. However, where freedom is, the abuse of freedom lags never far behind. But things have changed. What used to be reserved for dictators, monopolies, and conglomerates, the abuse of freedom is now open to anyone with a smart phone.
It doesn’t take rocket science, I think to notice that the demand for more tolerance for the intolerant is on the rise, just as are the efforts to narrow the limits of what words can be used, why, how, and when, and what not.
I think the free exchange of words is already under enough threat as it is.
Let’s do it for the children.
Words are: The difference
Like the elements, cells, common senses, eyes, and brain before, words are a gift we’re meant to keep. Sure, it can be stored away unopened, but that is not what gifts are for.
Especially considering words are the only difference between them and us.
What about the other candidates?
To believe what makes us unique is the upright walk, disposable thumb, naked skin, Cambrian explosion, aliens, or the size of our brains would be forgetting they are words.
Wisdom and all that jazz?
To believe wisdom, creativity, intelligence, brains, choices, decisions, organizations, knowledge, and response-ability are what separates us from the wordless would be forgetting if the wordless were lacking creativity, each cloud would be identical, all nuts would be hazel, all birds would be swans, and we wouldn’t be here. After all, we are the wordless’ idea, not our own.
If acorns didn’t know what they want, there’d be no oak trees.
Sure, the wordless don’t have self-driving cars, house-cleaning robots, atomic bombs, license-plate flippers, and social media. Why they stubbornly continue without is a mystery. Maybe they don’t see the point.
They have invented us, surely, they could have invented an atom bomb.
Be it as it may, the wordless didn’t wait for us to get started with space travel, for that is how the elements got here. And they know all about the weather, for they are the weather, and Wi-Fi isn’t needed, it seems, because they haven’t bothered with wires in the first place
100% of what we are—cells and water, fire, air, and earth—we have in common with the wordless.
Words are the difference. We can talk about it.
Words describe the world perfectly
How often is that true?
To believe words describe anything, let alone the world, let alone perfectly, is to believe in an optical illusion.
To describe anything takes a scribe. And like every scribe before, it will find words only describe other words, poorly, and that the above ant, butterfly, cat, and dog, both depicted and described, are merely examples.
If the first to speak the first word on Earth was an animal, as opposed to a plant, fictional character, or mountain, it is safe to conclude it is our ancestor and we are its children.
400 generations later, just like our ancestor did 10,000-plus years ago, we still arrive into this world wordless, and like our ancestor, it still takes us a while to speak our first.
The great thing about words being the only difference between us and the rest of Earth is you can simplify your world without having to wait for the world to change first.
Word is: Truth
In the wordless world, truth doesn’t exist for self-evident reasons.
Among the word-users, there are those who are looking for truth, and those who claim to have found it.
- According to Google, true is “about 4.24 billion results.”
- Wikipedia took the short-cut: “True most commonly refers to truth.”
- And some claim the wisest and noblest teacher is nature.
Will the real truth please stand up
“Will the real truth please stand up!” risks to start another disagreement among those who claim to have found it, and by the end of the day it’ll be more of the same old “Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the fairest truth of them all?” all over again.
For the adults, it is okay because we have gotten used to it, but to the children, true is just another fairy tale.
Mirrors do not determine who is right, only who is competing, which explains, I think why the truth doesn’t work so well.
True is a word, and what truth tells us about words is whether a word happened or not doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that it’s true.
There are no truths here, only words. What word-users do with each is a different story entirely.
There’s nothing the writer can do about it, for what it’s worth: A point of view.
Words do: Nothing
Words don’t do. They just are.
That is because words are not made of matter. They are empty inside, also known as massless and, therefore, even more elusive to catch than Neutrino, the ghost particle.
Words couldn’t matter if they tried, and for this and other reasons as well, words:
- Don’t have an opinion
- Don’t speak for themselves
- Don’t talk bad of word-users
- Don’t care what you do with them
- Don’t lie
- Don’t play games
- Don’t have meaning
- Don’t make sense
- Don’t describe the world
The one with the senses, the sensational one, is you.
Words have: Rules
Word rule #1: IT IS A WORD
If you can hear, see, touch, smell, taste, or feel it, it is a word.
Word rule #2: NEVER ANOTHER
A word is never another.
Word rule #3: TALK OF WORDS
“Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating.” – Patrick Rothfuss
Word rule #4: CANNOT BE DENIED
A word can be denied only by confirming it.
Word rule #5: WORDS CAN DO TO YOU
What words can do to others, they can do to you, and if you respond to words like others, they probably will.
Word rule #6: IRREVERSIBLE
Attention to words is irreVERSEable. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Any information in isolation is difficult for us to know what it means. We need contrast. hence our tendency to compare it to something else… to create an apple to apples or orange to oranges comparison, as in day and night and East and West.
There is nothing wrong with comparisons, however, when ignored what is going on, word-masters can take advantage of this trait of worduser behavior.
The setup can be rigged so that a selfish word-master’s audience ends up comparing apples to oranges, or even ends up believing an apple is an orange.
There are many ways to do this. On any purchase, when you see the price, is it expensive, cheap, or right? Right always wins in the end, of course, but it depends entirely on who set up the comparison. Who controlled the context? Was it you? Is is it a friend? Or is it someone of low moral standards and some mastery of words?
I think understanding words goes a long way in helping you be the one in charge of who is at the steering wheel.
Nowhere is this more important than with you.
You is among the words what the sun is among the stars–every star, blade of grass, tree, river and cloud knows where the sun is–the center of your unique verse (universe), the fixed star that is guiding you dead and alive, asleep and awake, the benefits of which can be known only after the fact.
“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” – Rumi
Additional potential benefits, not guaranteed, but also not impossible
- Knowing your roots is like having them.
- Change the world we cannot because we are the reason, but words can because they create it.
- Fighting the old doesn’t work.
- Trust your senses again.
- A fresh perspective is not a victory march.
- A great many new freedoms.
- Get things done for nothing but the sensation while doing them.
- Life no longer matters.
- Many decisions are already made.
- Simplify where simple begins, before it gets complicated.
- You cannot have empathy for other people’s words if you don’t have empathy for your words first.
- Choose your words well.
- Nothing changes, yet everything is different.
- The end of wishing without action.
- Do things that may have seemed impossible in the past.
- The end of regrets.
- More energy and time for the important.
- Certainty has gone but you know where to find it.
- Twelve months from now? I truly hope you’ll not even recognize what you’ve created. You don’t have to believe it, but it’s more fun when you do.
- Simplify your world without having to wait for the world to change first.
- Seven-league boots are an unfair advantage. But share it with the world, and the world will be a better place for it.
A large part depends on being confident you can do it.
In a world that has gone from wishing for words to drowning in them, it is easy to lose sight of the simple, and many have become ever more suspicious of what to believe in and what not.
The alternative is accepting you cannot trust anything or anyone.
You can trust only what you know of anything or anyone. Words are simply no exception.
How will you know if it’s working?
The point of investing in anything is to get a return on investment in the short-term or long-term.
If you went through school, you have already invested in words since you spoke your first, and you will likely continue to do so until you speak your last.
That means a fresh perspective is no extra-work. It happens in parallel. Put differently, it is effortless.
With more of the same old out of the question, the alternative is to:
- Fall in love with less
- Stop doing the non-essential
- Clear distractions, focus on the moments of your existence
- Let go of attachment to doing and having more.
For that, a fresh perspective on words is as good a place to begin as any I have tried before.
You know it is working when the return on investment is both fun, surprising, instant, and long-term.
Fun is important for without it, we all go insane. To understand what I mean, you may laugh about this now, or you may laugh about it later: Understanding words may not be what you wanted. Because it means you now have to forgive everybody who doesn’t know.
Kidding aside, being 100% cells and 70% water yourself, you can clearly see “Every behavior is either a loving response, or a cry for help” (Course In Miracles).
The last thing you want to spend your time with is catching others doing things wrong. That would only be more of the same old. Use it to celebrate what’s right with the words, the word-users, and the world instead.
The twist, shake, and excitement of the early years returns with a bang, I found, when you accept words as is, as opposed to wishing they were different. When you explain words, it becomes complicated, but when you accept them, it becomes simple.
“Who hears butterflies laughing knows how clouds taste.” – Novalis
By and large, word-users don’t like to be told they are wrong, or they will stop listening to you. Naturally, they also don’t like words that question familiar models. For these and others reasons as well, a fresh perspective on words can offend, be resisted and, if the past is anything to go by, be fought tooth and nail.
That may be the reason you do it, however, keep in mind:
“No matter how enmeshed a commander becomes in the elaboration of his own thoughts, it is sometimes necessary to take the enemy into account.” – Winston Churchill
But that is not about words, it is about what people do with them.
“It has often been said there’s so much to be read, you never can cram all those words in your head.
So the writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.
That’s why my belief is the briefer the brief is, the greater the sigh of the reader’s relief is.
Shorth is better than length.”
― Theodor ‘Dr. Seuss’ Geisel
The state of the world
The world of our own making
What if words were just a dream? It would appear the wordless world would be here, but we wouldn’t be here talking about everything we have a word for.
Is 2021 the world of our own making?
Or is it the world of words’ making?
Perhaps the answer depends on which came first: The word-user or the word?
On top of the food chain
The pursuit of better has paid off. We’re on top of the food chain, the most advanced specie ever, ready for fast food on Mars, the high-water mark of evolution.
All things considered, we are at a crossroads: What next?
That is like asking where have words gotten us thus far, and who decides, isn’t it?
“To some, it doesn’t matter a Dickie bird. “Too little too late” they are saying, or “Too much too fast.” Only on one thing most everybody agrees: “NOT more of the same old, please!”
More only mirrors itself, and so does more of the same.
Celebrate what unites us
I wanted to write a book that gives people hope and ended up writing a book about a fresh perspective on words.
The day when I would top it off with the world’s most boring book-title was years away. At the time, I couldn’t have imagined that.
War cannot be ended by the stories that create it.
It takes an alternative and words have a couple of features working in their favor.
- Words unite us. What divides us is what we do with words.
- In the beginning is the word no matter who is talking.
- Words don’t speak for themselves.
- Words have time on their side.
- When we change the way we look at words, the world changes.
There are no guarantees, of course not. After all, this manual is just more of the same in its own right.
A lone wolf howling at the moon I am not, nor do I feel that way.
On the contrary, new paths are sought and found everywhere, around the clock, by more word-users than ever before.
“When you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”– Martin Keogh
The world’s religionists and scientists agree–for the first time ever, “Finally!” some would say—on what can be denied only by confirming it:
Everything they’re talking about is a word.
To change the status quo, I feel that might be as good as it gets.
For thousands of years, we have steadily taken ourselves from wishing for words to now drowning in them.
Nevertheless, the option of fewer words also exists, not for the first time, but all the more so.
Impossible is nothing.
The state of the word
In the wordless world
The Earth travels around the sun. People die and new ones are born. Buds blush around the stem. Leaves fall when the autumn calls. The seasons keep on changing and:
“All the rivers run into the sea
yet the sea is not full
unto the place from whence the rivers come,
thither they return again.
It is raining today
in the mountains.
It is a warm green rain
in its pockets
for spring is here,
and does not dream
Birds happen music
like clocks ticking heaves
in a land
where children love spiders,
and let them sleep
in their hair.
A slow rain sizzles
on the river
like a pan
full of frying flowers,
and with each drop
Richard Brautigan (The Return of the Rivers)
Seen from afar, it seems the wordless just can’t get enough of the familiar, over and over again, not just year after year, but every time the sun shines her early ray on half the Earth at a time.
In the wordy world
The wordy make the best of it, each their own, many quietly, some aloud.
Some keep announcing to anyone willing to listen that the end of the world is as imminent right now as it’s been for thousands of years, only more so this time around.
Your best options, they want you to believe, is living in fear of getting run over by a self-driving vehicle tomorrow, or if that fails, to live in fear of the world exploding any day now, or if that fails, to get ready for the sky falling on our heads tomorrow.
Fear weighs on you from head to toe—the worst companion to drag along on your journey.
And simplification works best where it begins, before it is gets complicated.
Should that be before education? After all, among the best educated word-users on Earth are the world’s worst dictators. Makes you wonder what education is about, doesn’t it? Or should you simplify after education?
It doesn’t matter either way, for I’m not saying simplification where simple begins will change education or reduce the number of best-educated dictators. All I’m saying is those word-users who believe the solution will come from more words are barking up the wrong tree.
More words? Gimme a break!
If you believe more words will make the world a better place, naturally, that depends on which of the following numbers is your impression of enough.
- 0.14 billion words
- 1.27 billion definitions
- 21.36 billion words
- 37.725 billion words
- 155 billion words
To put the 155 billion words into context, 155 billion seconds is the equivalent of 4,915 years.
You might wonder, how does anyone count 155 billion of anything, let alone words? I asked that question, too, and the next couple of pages are what I found.
155 billion words
“English-Corpora.org is the most widely used collection of corpora (highly searchable collections of texts) anywhere in the world. The corpora are used by more than 130,000 people each month, from more than 140 countries. In addition, hundreds of universities worldwide have academic licenses, which provide their users with expanded access to the corpora.
The corpora have been used as the basis of thousands of academic articles, theses, and dissertations, and they form the backbone of courses on language and linguistics throughout the world, at all levels of instruction. Virtually every book on “teaching English with corpora” in the last 5-10 years has focused primarily on these corpora (which are also sometimes called the “BYU Corpora”, for the university where they were created). Since the first corpora were released in 2005, a total of seventeen corpora have been created.”
37.725 billion words
21.36 billion words
According to Wikipedia, we now own 21.36 billion words across the world’s dictionaries.
*“As of July 2021, en.wiktionary has over 791,870 gloss definitions and over 1,269,938 total definitions (including different forms) for English entries alone, with a total of over 9,928,056 definitions across all languages.”
137,110 English words share 27 beginnings and 14 endings between them.
Words beginning in
Ab: 2,796 words (le, surd, use, yss)
Ana: 1019 words (emic, gram, l, log, lyst, rchy, tomy)
Cata: 322 words (strophe)
Co: 15,952 words (mic, operate, ordinate, rona, smos)
Con: 1,944 words (ceal, cept, fess, fuse, serve, sider, spire, template, verse)
Com: 934 words (mit, mute, pare, pete, petence, plete, plex, prehend)
Cor: 1,736 words (e, rect, respond, rode, rupt, sage)
Cy: 1,197 words (fluen, consisten)
De: 9,458 words (coy, ity, lusion, mocrat, monstrate, sign, tox)
Dis: 3,181 words (crepancy, empower, guise, may, tort)
Ex: 2,942 words (act, hale, ist, it, plore, press, tort, ult)
Exe: 190 words (cute, mpt, mplary, rcise, rtion)
Ig: 731 words (norance, noble, nite, nominious)
Il: 1,212 words (legal, luminate, logic, lusion, lustration)
Im: 3,073 words (pact, plore, ply, possible, press)
In: 5,820 words (doctrinate, hale, form, sane, telligent, vest)
Inter: 1,108 words (est, prete, sect, rupt, view)
Ir: 1,767 words (onic, ritate, rational, responsible)
Multi: 594 words (ply, task, tude)
Over: 2,368 words (cast, kill, pass, see, take)
Pre: 184 words (conceived, destined, vent)
Pro: 3,801 words (be, fess, fit, gnose, ject, pel, per, se, test, ven, ximate)
Re: 8,629 words starting with Re (al, bel, grets, lief, putation, sponse, verse)
Un: 9,489 words (able, believable, do, glue, mask, roll)
Uni: 857 words (que, ty, verse)
Under: 847 words (lie, take, stand)
Words ending in
Able: 2,695 words (ador, c, cit, cur, do, en, f, li, lik, liv, lov, mak, min, par, pay, remark, s, siz, st, su, ten, tax, tow, un, voc)
Ability: 736 words (ar, cap, dis, in, mov, sal, st, su, us, vi)
Action: 281 words (satisf, trans)
Al: 10,721 words (an, co, di, du, he, go, me, ov, p, se, voc)
Ally: 3,027 words (du, liter, or, re, voc)
Ant: 1,470 words (ch, dop, err, inf, gr, gi, inc, me, mut, p, pl, rec, tru, w)
Ary: 1016 words (contempor, vocabul)
Ate: 4,415 words (b, c, d, el, f, g, gr, h, l, m, p, pl, r, st)
Ation: 10,723 words (communic, complic, imporvis, motiv, note, rationaliz, stimul, voc)
City: 381 words (capa)
Cy: 1,197 words (fluen, consisten, vacan)
Ibility: 519 words (in)
Ion: 14,981 words (funct)
Ish: 1,359 words (ap, ban, d, f, fam, fet, fin, par, pun, rel, van, w)
Ology: 1,239 words (abi, zyth)
Ature: 224 words (arm, candid, cre, fe, liter, m, n, st)
Temp: 441 words (le, let, er, erate, orary, t, at-temp-t)
Only the grammarians know
Is grammar invented, discovered, or created? Nobody seems to know. Well, nobody I’ve ever met has ever met a grammarian. They appear to work in the dark, away from the limelight.
If you’re a grammarian, nobody knows your name. Yet everybody follows your rules. “Without grammar we’d be lost!” is accepted without thinking twice, by the parents and children alike. Who wouldn’t dream of such power? Being a grammarian, I imagine, must feel like on top of the world.
Grammarians are the worst thing ever to have happened to words. They don’t merely change words, they go all out to mutilate them or make them unrecognizable in other ways. Below is a by-product of writing this manual that came about inadvertently.
Grammarians are the worst thing ever to have happened to words. They don’t merely change words, they go all out mutilate them or make them unrecognizable in other ways. Below is a by-product of writing this manual that came about inadvertently.
A small sampling of words made unrecognizable for reasons on the grammarians know.
Word before >>> Word after the grammarians
Action >>> Ation
Action >>> Ion
Able >>> Ible
Ability >>> Ibility
All one >>> Alone
Corespond >>> Correspond
Doable >>> Feasable (the ability to feas)
Formable >>> Formidable (the ability to formid)
Letterally >>> Literally
Lie-ability (the ability to lie) >>> Li-ability (the ability to li)
Passable (the ability to pass) >>> Possible (the ibility to poss)
Permission >>> Permit
Promission >>> Promise, Com-promission >>> Com-promise
Senseability >>> Sensibility (the ibility to sens)
Stable >>> Stability (the ability to st)
Story >>> History
Unable >>> Inability (the ability to in)
From the 736 grammar-approved abilities, enough to make any class of word-beginners run for cover, the following key abilities are missing:
Response-ability (the only ability you’ll ever need)
A work in progress
Words taught at school is the dream, hence a work in progress.
It has taken me more than 5 years, and thousands of hours, calories, and monies, just to complete the Word User’s Manual. It takes me hundreds of hours a month, and over a thousand dollars (Euros, or Swiss Francs), to research, write, publish, and for what’s up ahead, The Story of Words, The You User’s Manual, and The Simple Alphabet.
To make a difference, the Word User’s Manual has got to reach a wider audience than I can reach by myself. I’ll do my best to make it happen, but will need help. What type of help exactly, I do not know yet, but will figure it out when it gets closer.
Can you help?
I’d love to hear from you.
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or at LinkedIn
Support the work I’m doing
If you value my work and contribution to making the world a better place, are inspired by it, or benefit in other ways from this labor of crazy ambition, please consider becoming a supporter with a donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good lunch.
Yes, your support genuinely makes a difference.
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About the author
Here’s a picture of me when I was 17.
It showed up out of the blue just when I was about to publish the manual now in your hands.
It got me thinking nostalgic for a minute or two, however, it rang my doorbell again an hour later:
“If I knew then what I know now, what would I tell my teenage self?”
What can a 17-year young understand?
Looking for something true to say, leaving no stone unturned – it’d better be true – I ended up telling the kid in the photograph, “Without you, I wouldn’t be here. You did well.”
To make sure I heard it loud and clear, I said that twice.
It’s not always been easy
I grew up in a world of “Could do better!” Reminders in school reports, complete with exclamation marks, weren’t unusual.
I was already doing my damn best! What happened?
Well, just what I needed, a learning difficulty of sorts, my parents were told. Keep in mind ADHD hadn’t been invented yet. Be it as it may, to me, it felt like being handed the key for hating school with a legit excuse. But what remains is I felt like everything with school was right and everything with me was wrong. Not ideal for keeping the self-esteem of a little kid up where it belongs, but hey, that’s how I felt and I was young. We all go to school and get over it eventually, we all do, isn’t that so?
Well, I kept “could do better!” throughout the rest of my teenage years. I was a handful, but who isn’t early in life, eh? It can be fun for a while, but it can also lead to a life of between boredom and panic and everybody wants what the other has got.
I loved hanging out with people just like me. Of course, it didn’t get me anywhere, but it felt the safe thing to do and the best years of my life. The memories aren’t fun. On the contrary, at 17, I’m always alone and it’s cold.
My life is different now.
“You did well.”
I’m still doing my best, like everybody else.
The “could do better” people also have a motivation, just a different one.
The internet’s take on word
The internet’s take on words is beyond words.
The Merriam-Webster-Word: “A speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usually without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use.”
The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary-Word: “A single unit of language that means something and can be spoken or written.”
The Etymology Online-Word: “Speech, talk, utterance, sentence, statement, news, report, word.
The Wikipedia-Word: “Part of a series on Linguistics, General linguistics, Applied linguistics, Theoretical frameworks.
In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with objective or practical meaning.
In many languages, words also correspond to sequences of graphemes (“letters”) in their standard writing systems that are delimited by spaces wider than the normal inter-letter space, or by other graphical conventions.
The concept of “word” is usually distinguished from that of a morpheme, which is the smallest unit of word which has a meaning, even if it will not stand on its own together or in other small words.
In many languages, the notion of what constitutes a “word” may be learned as part of learning the writing system. This is the case for the English language, and for most languages that are written with alphabets derived from the ancient Latin or Greek alphabets.
There still remains no consensus among linguists about the proper definition of “word” in a spoken language that is independent of its writing system, nor about the precise distinction between it and “morpheme”.
This issue is particularly debated for Chinese and other languages of East Asia, and may be moot[clarification needed] for Afro-Asiatic languages.
In English orthography, the letter sequences “rock”, “god”, “write”, “with”, “the”, “not” are considered to be single-morpheme words, whereas “rocks”, “ungodliness”, “typewriter”, and “cannot” are words composed of two or more morphemes (“rock”+”s”, “un”+”god”+”li”+”ness”, “type”+”writ”+”er”, and “can”+”not”).
In English and many other languages, the morphemes that make up a word generally include at least one root (such as “rock”, “god”, “type”, “writ”, “can”, “not”) and possibly some affixes (“-s”, “un-“, “-ly”, “-ness”). Words with more than one root (“[type][writ]er”, “[cow][boy]s”, “[tele][graph]ically”) are called compound words.”
Words are combined to form other elements of language, such as phrases (“a red rock”, “put up with”), clauses (“I threw a rock”), and sentences (“I threw a rock, but missed”).”
The internet’s take on other key-words
Below, for illustration purposes only, the internet’s take on the following key words:
Beginning, Fact, God, Happy, History, Humanity, Intelligence, Know, Language, Life, Nature, Past, Real, Responsible, Responsibility, Story, Success, True, Wordless, and World.
- “Beginning may refer to: Beginning by Kotipelto.”
- “The point at which something begins.”
- “The time when something starts.”
- “Act of starting something.”
- “An occurrence in the real world.”
- “Something that has actual existence.”
- “A thing that is known to be true, especially when it can be proved.”
- “Action, anything done, especially evil deed.”
- “The supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith.”
- “The perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped.”
- “The being or spirit worshipped and believed to have created the universe.”
- “The supreme being, deity, image of a god, or godlike person.”
- “The term happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states.”
- “Feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life.”
- “Feeling or showing pleasure; pleased.”
- “Lucky, favored by fortune, being in advantageous circumstances, prosperous.”
- “The study of the past.”
- “A chronological record of significant events.”
- “All the events that happened in the past.”
- “Relation of incidents true or false.”
- “Humanity most commonly refers to: Humans Humanity.”
- “The quality or state of being humane.”
- “People in general.”
- “Kindness, graciousness, politeness; consideration for others.”
- “Intelligence has been defined in many ways.”
- “The ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations.”
- “The ability to learn, understand and think in a logical way about things.”
- “The highest faculty of the mind, capacity for comprehending general truths.”
- “Familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts.”
- “To perceive directly : have direct cognition of.”
- “To have information in your mind as a result of experience or because you have learned or been told it.”
- “Perceive a thing to be identical with another.”
- “A structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), sign, or often writing.”
- “The words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community.”
- “The system of communication in speech and writing that is used by people of a particular country or area.”
- “Words, what is said, conversation, talk.”
- “A characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes.”
- “The ability to grow, change, etc.”
- “The ability to breathe, grow, produce young, etc.”
- “Animated corporeal existence.”
- “The natural, physical, material world or universe.”
- “The physical world and everything in it that is not made by people.”
- “All the plants, animals and things that exist in the universe that are not made by people.”
- “Restorative powers of the body, bodily processes; powers of growth.”
- “The past is the set of all events that occurred before a given point in time.”
- “Gone by in time.”
- “Times gone by, the time that has preceded the present.”
- “Real may refer to: Currencies, Music, Other Media, Places, Sports, Other uses, People with the surname, See also.”
- “Having objective independent existence.”
- “Actually existing or happening and not imagined or pretended.”
- “Actually existing, having physical existence (not imaginary).”
- “Responsibility (Redirected from Responsible).”
- “Liable to be called on to answer.”
- “Having the job or duty of doing something or taking care of somebody/something, so that you may be blamed if something goes wrong.”
- “Accountable for one’s actions, answerable to another, for an act performed or its consequences.”
- “Responsibility may refer to Collective responsibility, Corporate social responsibility, Duty, Legal liability, Legal obligation, Legal responsibility, Media responsibility, Moral responsibility or personal responsibility, Obligation, Professional responsibility, Responsibility assumption, A doctrine in existential psychotherapy, Social responsibility, Responsibility for the Holocaust, The Westminster system.”
- “The quality or state of being responsible.”
- “A duty to deal with or take care of somebody/something, so that you may be blamed if something goes wrong.”
- “Fact or condition of being responsible, accountable, or answerable.”
- “May refer to Common uses, Social media, Film, Television, Radio, Music, Places, People, Other uses, See also History Storey.”
- “An account of incidents or events.”
- “A description of events and people that the writer or speaker has invented in order to entertain people.”
- “Connected account or narration of some happening.”
- “Success (concept), the achievement of a desired result.”
- “The fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.”
- “The fact that you have achieved something that you want and have been trying to do or get.”
- “An advance, a coming up; a good result, happy outcome.”
- “True most commonly refers to truth.”
- “Being in accordance with the actual state of affairs.”
- “Connected with facts rather than things that have been invented or guessed.”
- “Faithful, trustworthy, honest, steady in adhering to promises, friends, etc.”
- “The page Wordless does not exist.”
- “Not expressed in or accompanied by words.”
- “Without saying any words.”
- “From word + -less.”
- “The term world refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is.”
- “The earth and all the people and things on it.”
- “The earth, with all its countries, peoples and natural features.”
- “Human existence, the affairs of life, also a long period of time, also the human race, mankind, humanity.”
In the beginning according to Wikipedia
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, is reported to have about 2.5 billion unique visitors a month (Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1201889/most-visited-websites-worldwide-unique-visits/).
To get on par with religion, science, art, knitting, woodworking or any other topic taught at school, the word has a long way to go.
- Religion without stories
- Color without theory
- Dance without rules
- Art without schools
- Science without labs
- Archeology without arch
- Universe without university
- Knowledge without knowing
- Knitting without wool
- Woodworking without wood
- Stargazing without stars
- Traffic without signs
…wouldn’t work so well. But for words, having none of the above is considered alright.
If words were as clear as traffic signs, we would manage with fewer of them, wouldn’t we? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the alphabet, however, to organise words alphabetically was a good start, but surely, that cannot be all there is to it.
Well, that is all there has been to it for thousands of years, and many a word-user still hangs on to the belief something began 2021 years ago, as if in the beginning was a storyteller, despite the fact everybody knows (some) words began earlier than that.
For word-beginners in the future, I think in addition to the alphabetical ranking of words, the story of words will have to be told, and words will have to be recognized for what they are.
Foreign words translated into another foreign word.
Storia (Latin) > Histoire (French) > History (English)
IQ-only / Didn’t happen / Designed to confuse
Nation of god
Common sense / Happened
Commonwealth <> Commonpoor
Human Rights <> Human Wrongs
In order to
Sponse (as in re-sponse)
See extra page
Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television in the USA
Seven dirty words.
“The seven dirty words are seven English-language curse words that American comedian George Carlin first listed in his 1972 “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” monologue. The words, in the order Carlin listed them, are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.”
Google doesn’t appear to be the forbidding type, however, inappropriate, adult, shocking, harmful, and recreational words (if it’s drugs), are not encouraged.
“YouTube has received criticism from LGBTQ creators who say the platform demonetizes their videos. There was even a lawsuit filed by several creators in August. YouTube channel Nerd City posted a video in collaboration with Sealow, the CEO of Ocelot AI, and Andrew from the channel Analyzed, that showed the content management system in action. They put together a list of 15,000 words and manually uploaded one-to-two second videos to determine which terms got flagged for demonetization. Videos with “lesbian” and “gay” were deemed by the bots as non-advertiser friendly, while “straight” and “heterosexual” were fine. Sealow explained this is not a matter of LGBTQ YouTubers posting videos about subjects that are unsuitable for some viewers, like sex or tragedy, which all creators get demonetized for. “This is LGBTQ terminology like gay and lesbian being the sole reason for a video being demonetized, despite being perfectly acceptable context,” he said. “We’re proud of the incredible LGBTQ voices on our platform and take concerns like these very seriously,” a YouTube spokesperson told Insider.”
Atkins High School
“Banned Word List: I, You, We, Nice, Very, A Lot, Such As, Stuff, Thing, Things, Something, Really, Plus, Even, Just, Me, Like, Got, Get, My, Kid, Quote, Quotation, So, Why, It, All Contractions are BANNED in Formal Writing. In the future—beginning with the next writing assignment—any banned word, or contraction, that appears in a work submitted to me will count as -5 (minus five) points off the total grade.”
CERN writing guidelines
“Guidelines for writers and editors contributing to CERN websites
The following is a list of the web editor’s pet peeves. It is intended to make writers think more about simple use of English, and for editors to cut jargon where possible.
Don’t use the following words or constructions, except in direct quotes.
Access (as a verb), And/or (Logic gates do not belong in prose), Anomalous – results are not anomalous, they are “unexpected,” Anthropogenic, Breakthrough, Colloquium – say “seminar,” Component – part, Elucidate – say “find out,” et al. – say “and colleague” or “and their team, “Facilitate – “help,” Further research is needed (or anything like that), Holy Grail – an over–used metaphor, However – why use however when you can just say “but”?, Impact (as a verb), Informed (people can be informed. As for “The discussion was informed…”?), Initiate – use start, In order to – almost always redundant. Just say “to,” Interdisciplinary, Interested in (as in, “Dr. Frankenstein is interested in tissue regeneration.” – it makes it sound boring), It has been shown… By who?, Literally (even if it’s used accurately, the word is generally useless), Material properties, Mechanism, Methodology, Mitigation, Modulate, Multiple (as in many? Then just use many), Novel (the adjective is banned. Say “new”. The noun, as in War and Peace, is fine.), Optimum, Orthogonal, Paradigm shift, Parameter (also, parameterize), Scientists have learned in recent years that… (A dodge to escape explaining what actually happened), Seminal, Sustainability, System (as in, “He chose atoms as a system to study”), Synergy (corporate jargon that we can all do without), This (if there is no antecedent in sight), Transmissibility, Trivial (in the way scientists like to use it: “This problem is trivial.” Non–trivial is even worse.), Utilize – say “use”, Via – use “through” or “by”, Very – This word is almost always redundant. It’s not “very big”, it’s huge, vast, or enormous. “Very small”? – No. Tiny, minute, etc. The exceptions are when “very” is used to mean “actual; precise” as in those were his very words, or to mean “without addition; mere” as in the very thought made her shudder. Those uses are fine, We – as in “We now accurately know the diameter of the proton.” We includes your readers, most of whom don’t know until you tell them. Even worse are constructions such as “We’ve all laughed at Charlie-Chaplin films”. No we haven’t!”
HSS agencies get lists of banned words
“The Trump administration is prohibiting HHS agencies from using certain words and phrases in official documents being prepared for the 2018 budget. (Monica Akhtar, Juliet Eilperin, Lena Sun/The Washington Post) By Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin, December 15, 2017
The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.
Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or ”evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, “will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans,” HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd told The Washington Post. “HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.”
The question of how to address such issues as sexual orientation, gender identity and abortion rights — all of which received significant visibility under the Obama administration — has surfaced repeatedly in federal agencies since President Trump took office. Several key departments — including HHS, as well as Justice, Education, and Housing and Urban Development — have changed some federal policies and how they collect government information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
In March, for example, HHS dropped questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in two surveys of elderly people.
Trump’s nominee Alex Azar lays out his focus for HHS
President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, testified before the Senate Health Committee on Nov. 29. (Reuters)
HHS has also removed information about LGBT Americans from its website. The department’s Administration for Children and Families, for example, archived a page that outlined federal services that are available for LGBT people and their families, including how they can adopt and receive help if they are the victims of sex trafficking.
At the CDC, the meeting about the banned words was led by Alison Kelly, a career civil servant who is a senior leader in the agency’s Office of Financial Resources, according to the CDC analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly. Kelly did not say why the words are being banned, according to the analyst, and told the group that she was merely relaying the information.
Other CDC officials confirmed the existence of a list of forbidden words. It’s likely that other parts of HHS are operating under the same guidelines regarding the use of these words, the analyst said.
At the CDC, several offices have responsibility for work that uses some of these words. The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention is working on ways to prevent HIV among transgender people and reduce health disparities. The CDC’s work on birth defects caused by the Zika virus includes research on the developing fetus.
The ban is related to the budget and supporting materials that are to be given to the CDC’s partners and to Congress, the analyst said. The president’s budget for 2019 is expected to be released in early February. The budget blueprint is generally shaped to reflect an administration’s priorities.
Federal agencies are sending in their budget proposals to the Office of Management and Budget, which has authority about what is included.
Neither an OMB spokesman nor a CDC spokeswoman responded to requests for comment Friday.
[This is how the Trump administration has shifted course on civil rights]
The longtime CDC analyst, whose job includes writing descriptions of the CDC’s work for the administration’s annual spending blueprint, could not recall a previous time when words were banned from budget documents because they were considered controversial.
The reaction of people in the meeting was “incredulous,” the analyst said. “It was very much, ‘Are you serious? Are you kidding?’ ”
“In my experience, we’ve never had any pushback from an ideological standpoint,” the analyst said.
News of the ban on certain words hasn’t yet spread to the broader group of scientists at the CDC, but it’s likely to provoke a backlash, the analyst said. “Our subject matter experts will not lay down quietly — this hasn’t trickled down to them yet.”
The CDC has a budget of about $7 billion and more than 12,000 employees working across the nation and around the globe on everything from food and water safety, to heart disease and cancer, to infectious disease outbreak prevention. Much of the CDC’s work has strong bipartisan support.
Kelly told the analysts that “certain words” in the CDC’s budget drafts were being sent back to the agency for correction. Three words that had been flagged in these drafts were “vulnerable,” “entitlement” and “diversity.” Kelly told the group the ban on the other words had been conveyed verbally.”
Quotes relevant to the word user’s guide
From my first encounter with “Ships in harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for” (John Shedd), many moons ago, I learned that quotes can inspire you, snap you out of assumptions and limiting beliefs, and change your life.
Way and beyond the word user’s manual itself, included in this special section are the following collections of handpicked quotes, if so inclined, for your reading pleasure only,
- Marshall McLuhan (word being the media without which there wouldn’t be any)
Simple Quotes Worth Reading Twice
Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple. – Woody Guthrie
Simplify, simplify. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. Solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. – Henry David Thoreau
Everything is simple. It’s people who complicate things. – Albert Camus
Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein
Hack away at the unessential. Simplicity is the key to brilliance. – Bruce Lee
History can be written in a simple little formula: Challenge, Response. – Arnold Toynbee
How difficult it is to get simple. – Vincent Van Gogh
I have just three things to teach, simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. – Lao Tzu
Life is truly simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius
Of two or more competing theories, the simpler is most likely correct. – William of Ockham
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple. – Jack Kerouac
Principles are the simplicity on the far side of complexity. – Steven Covey
Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward. – Frédéric Chopin
Simplicity is the key of elegance. – Coco Chanel
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo Da Vinci
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. – Theodor ‘Dr. Seuss’ Geisel
That’s been one of my mantras, focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. – Steve Jobs
The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity. – Walt Whitman
There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth. – Leo Tolstoy
True Quotes Worth Reading Twice
All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie. – Bob Dylan
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. – Arthur Schopenhauer
Beauty is truth, truth beauty. – John Keats
By ignorance the truth is known. – Henry Suso
Do not believe the truth. The truth is tiny compared to what you have to do. – Leonard Cohen
Everything we hear is an option, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. – Marcus Aurelius
Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truths for yourself. – Vilfredo Pareto
I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me. – Albert Einstein
If I have been untrue, I hope you know, it was never to you. – Leonard Cohen
If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it. – Marcus Aurelius
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything. – Mark Twain
If you’re a minority of one, the truth is the truth. – Mahatma Gandhi
If you’re the one who tells the lie, you’re the first to find out. – Fergus O’Farrell
In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies. – Winston Churchill
It doesn’t matter whether a story genuinely happened or not. The main thing is that it’s true. – Erich Kaestner
It is difficult to say what truth is, but sometimes it is so easy to recognize it as falsehood. – Albert Einstein
The truth has never been of any real value to any human being. It is a symbol for mathematicians and philosophers to pursue. In human relations, kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths. – Graham Greene
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult, once we truly understand and accept it, then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. – M. Scott Peck
Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth. – Mahatma Gandhi
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. – Winston Churchill
Not only are we the sole animal capable of believing in Santa Claus, we are also the only one that can come to grips with the truth he doesn’t exist. – Jon Franklin
Pompous vocabulary and revolutionary overtones make me suspicious. Truth tends to present itself modestly and in simple garb. – Albert Einstein
Reason is the slow and torturous method by which those who do not know the truth discover it. – Blaise Pascal
Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. The person who dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool. – Plato
Surprise is the essence of humor, and nothing is more surprising than truth. – Bill Watterson
The best camouflage of all, in my opinion, is the plain and simple truth. Because nobody ever believes it. – Max Frisch
The effort to strive for truth has to precede all other efforts. – Albert Einstein
The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. – Neils Bohr
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. – Flannery O’Connor
The truth is an ambition which is beyond us. – Peter Ustinov
The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. – Bill Watterson
The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it. – Norman Schwarzkopf
There is one elementary truth. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. – Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Truth comes in blows. – Saul Bellow
Truth is abhorred by the masses. – Baltasar Gracián
Truth is not only violated by falsehood. It may be equally outraged by silence. – Henri-Frédéric Amie
Truth is what stands the test of experience. – Albert Einstein
Two truths that aren’t true. God helps those who help themselves. Actors get up at 5 a.m. – Bob Dylan
We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies. – Pablo Picasso
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. – Albert Einstein
You can lead people to truth, but you can’t make them understand it. – Bill Watterson
Word Quotes Worth Reading Twice
A word after a word after a word is power. – Margaret Atwood
A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day. – Emily Dickinson
Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often. – Mark Twain
All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time. – Ernest Hemingway
Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart. – Zig Ziglar
And curious creatures that we are, in every sense of the word. Not only are we the sole animal in all of nature capable of believing in Santa Claus, we are also the only one that can come to grips with the unpleasant truth that he doesn’t exist. – Jon Franklin
Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule. – Stephen King
Bad terminology is the enemy of good thinking. – Warren Buffet
Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace. – Buddha
Consciousness comes into manifestation only when the man has used the word with full knowledge of what it means. – James Frederick Ferrier
Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words? – Marcel Marceau
For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk… Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking. – Stephen Hawking
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn plays wasted words… disillusioned words like bullets bark. – Bob Dylan
Great music doesn’t take words, but great songs do. – Polo Hofer
He was in love with words, as was I. It was a magical time. – Jennifer Warnes (about Leonard Cohen)
Hippocrates had no means of recognizing the heart as a pump because there was no such item in his world and no such word in his vocabulary. – Guido Majno, M.D.
How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul. – Frances Hodgson Burnett
I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way, things I had no words for. – Georgia O’Keeffe
I have no words for my reality. – Max Frisch
I like good strong words that mean something. – Louisa May Alcott
I simply set music to the words of defeat and turn it into a song. – Napoleon Hill
I think people talk too much, that’s the truth of the matter. I do. I don’t believe in words. People use too many words and usually wrongly. I am sure that in the distant future people will talk much less and in a more essential way. – Michelangelo Antonioni
If the word doesn’t exist, invent it. But first, be sure it doesn’t exist. – Charles Baudelaire
If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
In comparing various authors with one another, I have discovered that some of the gravest and latest writers have transcribed, word for word, from former works, without making acknowledgment. – Gaius Plinius the Elder
In the beginning is the word. – Word Masters
In the true sense of the word, are we using what we’ve learned? In the true sense of the word, are we losing what we were? – Jack Johnson
Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world. – Susan Sontag
Lying is done with words, and also with silence. – Adrienne Rich
Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking. – Stephen Hawking
Maybe the many words is what’s preventing you from finding peace. – Hermann Hesse
Words become works. – Seneca
One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Our words misunderstand us. – Adrienne Rich
Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. – Rumi
Speak the words with the exact precision with which you would check out a laundry list. There’s a blaze of light in every word. Think of the words as science, not as art. – Leonard Cohen
Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority. – Martin Luther King Jr
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. – Mark Twain
The mistake of mistakes is the apparently plausible notion that to say something one has to say something. But what the artist has to present is wordless. – Joseph Campbell
The moment I write about the tiger, the tiger isn’t the tiger, he becomes a set of words. – Jorge Luis Borges
The moral flabbiness born of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That, with the squalid interpretation put on the word success, is our national disease. – William James (to H.G. Wells, Sept. 11, 1906)
The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish. – Terence McKenna
The word water is itself undrinkable, and the formula H20 will not float a ship. – Alan Watts
The words a child speaks do not flow in a straight line, but in a curve, as if they wanted to fall back again into the silence. – Max Picard
The words fill my head and they fall to the floor that if God’s on our side he’ll stop the next war. – Bob Dylan
The words of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts, and their thoughts the preview of their actions. – John Locke
The words you speak become the house you live in. – Hafiz
There are meanings that are lost forever the moment they are explained in words. – Haruki Murakami
There are only 3 things that can make your dreams come true: your thoughts, your words, and your actions. – Mike Dooley
To see we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at. – Claude Monet
Two doctors from Derby reported in 1981 about a woman, blind since the age of twenty-seven, who began to suffer deafness a few years later. “I can no longer hear the silence of lamp-posts,” she said one day. Who then tells a finer tale than any of us? Silence does. – Isak Dinesen
Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating. – Patrick Rothfuss
Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny. – Lao Tzu
Words are not only in open books, they are an open book themselves. – Spinosa
Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. – Rudyard Kipling
Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly. They’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced. – Aldous Huxley
Words can be meaningless. If they are used in such a way that no sharp conclusions can be drawn. – Richard Feynman
Words can be said in bitterness and anger, and often there seems to be an element of truth in the nastiness. And words don’t go away, they just echo around. – Jane Goodall
Words mean. Words point. They are arrows. Arrows stuck in the rough hide of reality. – Susan Sontag
You are the deep innerness of all things. The last word that can never be spoken. To each of us, you reveal yourself differently. To the ship as a coastline, to the shore as a ship. – Rainer Maria Rilke
You can’t measure the mutual affection of two human beings by the number of words they exchange. – Milan Kundera
You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do. – Patrick Ness
You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass. – Bruce Lee
“All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the message. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments. All media are extensions of some human faculty, psychic or physical.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Don’t ask whether it is right or wrong. Instead try to find out what is going on.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Faced with information overload, we have no alternative but pattern-recognition.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Gutenberg made everybody a reader. Xerox makes everybody a publisher.” – Marshall McLuhan
“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is a hallucinating idiot, for he sees what no one else does. Things that, to everyone else, are not there.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Like primitive, we now live in a global village of our own making, a simultaneous happening. It doesn’t necessarily mean harmony and peace and quiet but it does mean huge involvement in everybody else’s affairs.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth’s atmosphere to a company as a monopoly.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Once you see the boundaries of your environment, they are no longer the boundaries of your environment.” – Marshall McLuhan
“One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There’s always more than you can cope with.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools and yesterday’s concepts.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be so much more powerful than he could ever be.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.” – Marshall McLuhan
“The school system is the homogenizing hopper into which we toss our integral tots for processing.” – Marshall McLuhan
“To say the camera cannot lie is merely to underline the multiple deceits that are now practiced in its name.” – Marshall McLuhan
“We are all robots when uncritically involved with our technologies.” – Marshall McLuhan
“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” – Marshall McLuhan
“What is very little understood about the electronic age is that it angelizes man, disembodies him. Turns him into software.” – Marshall McLuhan