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The Power of Words: An Inescapable Regime.

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Introduction


The Power of Words: An Inescapable Regime

Cindy Kou

TOK 11, Blk C

Ms Patton

Thursday 10 April 2003

(Word Count: 1464)

“Words are more treacherous and powerful than we think,” said Jean-Paul Sartre. Rudyard Kipling concurs with the quote, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” These characteristics of the nature of words conjure an image of deceit and diabolism, which initially seem unfit to describe the tools and messengers of daily communication. If these tools, indispensable to mankind in the acquisition of Knowledge, do indeed lie and deceive, there is reason to question the validity of information obtained through the use of words. To investigate the affects of words on different Areas of Knowledge, this dissertation discusses the varied implications concealed within a statement as well as the impacts of words and such implications on the studies of ethics, history, mathematics and natural sciences.

Prior to commencing, it is necessary to identify what is meant by Sartre’s use of the term “words”. If words are designated symbols or sounds that, together, convey a message, then words encompass written and spoken language and their reciprocals, read and heard language, respectively.

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Middle

Along with the development of a sense of self comes the growth of a sense of ethics. Although learning the difference between right and wrong is frequently manifested through a material rewards-and-punishment system, it is the maturity of self-esteem and ethics that becomes a pair of glasses through which one filters life. In the short term, this filter impacts one’s acquisition of knowledge. However, in the case of an author, a journalist, a storyteller or a record-keeper – in short, any individual who uses words to leave a memory of his or her life – these filters ultimately effect how future generations see the past.

        When historians study the past, their only tools are the surviving memories of someone else’s perceptions. Whether this takes the form of a documentary, a newspaper, a song or an interview, historians have no choice but to accept as valid the information that they are given. From the data gathered, the historian then formulates a theory that, if deemed reasonable and true by a collective group, is reproduced and repeated to students and scholars that follow.

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Conclusion

In some ways, words are more treacherous and powerful than I had thought. However, words are essential in the acquisition of Knowledge and it is impossible to accurately or logically use words to describe or investigate the use of words. Even in the opinion of Zen Buddhism, a philosophy that has attached great importance to silence, words are necessary to convey knowledge. Treacherous and deceitful as words may be, there is no alternative to gain or record knowledge, and without a database of accumulated knowledge, the quantity of information in the Areas of Knowledge diminishes with the parting of each soul. As of today’s level of knowledge, deceitful and misleading as words may be, there is no choice but to use them.  

Works Cited:

Irwin, William, et al. The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’Oh! of Homer.

« Language. » The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Quotations. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1992.

« Word. » The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1992.

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