Words speak volumes

Rarely do we envision ourselves exactly how others perceive or interpret us. This realization holds true for the use of language when compared to our exhibited daily actions.

People are defined by the accumulative history of their deeds, rather than by mere words. But language can be both reflective of behavior and have an influence on these behaviors as we move forward. Our language shapes the way we view our surroundings, and is a good everyday step toward a more inclusive community.

But is the use of insincere language (political correctness) or simply saying what others wish to hear (a form of deceptive window-dressing) more representative of a trend in communication that is making our society less polite and less understanding of each other?

There is sometimes a big gap between the intent of words and their impact. To a growing number of people, language is considered much like fashion. Each morning we physically dress ourselves in a similar manner as we dress our language. We put on the face of our next destination, rather than the face of how we truly feel.

This deceptive approach tends to hide unpleasant truths through slippery rhetoric, and gives way to false impressions that can be created by vague or insincere language. Without sincerity and empathy there can be no connection, thus leaving communication open to a potentially obscured meaning. What you see in one’s “window” is not always what you might get in reality.

“The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” - George Bernard Shaw. Communication is only successful when someone clearly understands and feels what you’re saying - not simply when you speak.

It has long been understood that sincerity is the foundation on which all true communication rests. George Orwell once stated that "the greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity.”

Language is not to be understood as the means to honesty or sincerity. That should be left up to one’s character. But if we intend to use words in an honest and sincere manner, we should have the simple integrity and moral discipline to give it real meaning and stand behind its content.

I would be remiss for not admitting that this form of finger-wagging is not defensible behind some form of personal self-righteous, moral indignation. I am no better and no worse than any other. This is not to be critical of any one individual or group as much as it is toward human nature.

If it is believed to be a finger pointed at you, then you probably have only your conscience to blame. But if you believe that this has nothing to do with you, then it’s highly probable that the intent has indeed found a home within the reader. A little self-reflection and humility can go a long way to reinforce “The Perfect Setting. For life”.
 
Jeff Fisher
Senoia City Councilman
Senoia, Ga.