How do you create new words?
The power of words. I bet it's not the first time you see these words written in this order :) . The phrase "the power of words" is so powerless to carry out what it's trying to mean that it's a beautiful contradiction of itself. It is so worn-out, and conventional that it completely fails to raise the intellectual curiosity that is sort of implied it should. Semantically, it would make a perfect title for this piece but I made up a spicier one to save the readers from entering the first words with only half their brainpower available.
"Now come on! A boring title doesn't lobotomize anyone!" I beg to insist. Would you actually be able to devote a significant fraction of your attention to a post titled "An inquiry into the functioning of society"? When it would be quite impossible to read "What really makes people do what they do" without a spark of wonder. Both papers possibly having the same content. That spark of curiosity easily accounts for half your focus ability.
So, indeed, words have the power to channel our concentration that way or another. Which is quite a considerable power if you think about it. The right word applied at the right place might very well change the world more than a war.
Now that this is hopefully agreed upon, let us zoom into some specifics. There is actually ONE word that I want to introduce to you. It comes quite soon, but not right away in order to build up some suspense. Instead, we'll start with two words that are mightily interesting in a multitude of manners: "anti-racism" and "feminism". One generally meaning that you don't consider different human races differently, and the other that you don't consider genders differently. You see now why I bundled them together.
If you have read the forelatest sentence absentmindedly, read it again. You'll see that both words seem to be specifics of a more encompassing concept. What's the word for that seemingly essential idea of tolerance? The idea that one shouldn't consider humans differently whatever their cosmetic genetic difference? Well, there is no such word. To express this idea, you'll either have to use a descriptive sentence like I just did, either list all the specifics that it is composed of : "I'm a feminist, anti-racist, anti-agist, anti-fashion and I don't take kindly to religious discrimination". I don't know about you, but the fact that there is no word for such a basic concept is creeping me out. I won't feel good again until there is one. And it only adds guilt to injury that you might feel the same too now. So let's fix this situation right away. Introducing a new word to common speech:
Daltonism: Propensity to evaluate human beings regardless of their perceptible image.
Ah! The spell check is picking it! It IS a new word!
Daltonism would be actually a lot more than the juxtaposition of anti-racism and feminism. A daltonist will greet a goth in the same manner as he would a countryside old-timer. It is a complete disregard of the visual cues that non-daltonists assess other according to.
I, personally, wish I would be a true daltonist. But, as a frequent hitchhiker, quickly assessing someone according to visible cues is a second nature. And I certainly hate it when people treat me undaltonely, so I try my best to be as dalton as I can towards them.
One thing seems sure to me, more daltonism makes for a much nicer society.
Does it seem sure to you? Surely it does after you've swallowed all that rhetoric. Maybe it wouldn't have if I had thrown the concept at your face without proper introduction. Nowadays people understand that racism is not a good thing for society as a whole. They are coming to terms with the fact that societal gender equality is a good thing too (slowly... A 20ish girl I met in a bar yesterday tried to convince me that there was such thing as feminine/masculine activities). But mostly they don't realize that both things are part of the more general idea that humans must be considered for their actions rather than for their visible background. The leap is not so mind-bending though. How come nobody jumps it? Well, most probably because there is no word to call it. Or there wasn't until the middle of this page.
The power of words, my friends...
Indeed, it takes naming a concept before it is allowed to take place in the collective consciousness ; and more important, acted upon. If I may take an example in history, there is none so eloquent as that of "humanism".
Humanism, as a concept is as old as humanity. But it is only in the year 1765 that an anonymous French journalist states in a publication: "The general love of humanity ... a virtue hitherto quite nameless among us, and which we will venture to call ‘humanism’, for the time has come to create a word for such a beautiful and necessary thing.” The coining and subsequent propagation of the word was a base for the whole Enlightenment movement. Before that, only dedicated philosophers like Rousseau would get close to the nameless concept. Oh the wonders he might have achieved given this invaluable tool.
Society will never honor a concept that no one can name. Oh, some of its members will, but only after a long and painful philosophical reflection. I say, cut the crap, it is ripe now, give the thing a name and let people put twitter abuzz with its hashtag.
Enough already with blog articles?