Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Monday, 27 February 2012

Dangerous Words

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master -- that's all.'

Apparently you can make words mean whatever you want them to. It's an old trick designed to fool the unwary and confuse the unwitting. The net effect is to render the word utterly unusable in ordinary conversation. Take the word "christian" for instance. C.S. Lewis did... and went on to explain how the word has been transmuted from a noun describing a follower of Jesus to an adjective simply meaning "nice" as in "That was a very christian thing to do." This process is carried on unwittingly and results in the devaluation of many words.

This same process can be used as a tool of outright deception. One technique is to use a common word and attach shades of meaning to it that the original users of the word did not anticipate or are even aware of. More than one heresy has been born this way. The real difficulty is when words are used as mere blunt force instruments to bludgeon the opposition. Whatever the intent, the result is always the same. It renders real communication impossible.

Groupthink was originally defined by Irving Janus as "A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive ingroup, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action." defines groupthink
1. the practice of approaching problems or issues as matters that are best dealt with by consensus of a group rather than by individuals acting independently; conformity.
2. the lack of individual creativity, or of a sense of personal responsibility, that is sometimes characteristic of group intereaction.

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