The Way We Say What We Say

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The Way We Say What We Say
In his book The Stuff of Thought (2007), Steven Pinker states that all humans, universally, must be careful in the choice of their words in order to convey a specific message while keeping up a particular relationship between the speaker and the listener. In the simplest form, people do this for basic politeness. Whether it is asking for someone to pass the salt or asking somebody to donate to a specific cause, people phrase their desires in a way to not offend the listener and the upkeep the relationship between the active participants in the conversation. In sexual relations, this fickle formation of speech can be even more complicated. The asker does not want to offend the listener but at the same time, has the courage to attempt to convey their desires to their partner. Politically, the word phrasing game can be even more difficult while also being much more important. Diplomatically in politics, the careful, ambiguous wording of a sentence means the difference between an arms peace treaty and the rekindling of a war, as in Resolution 242 between Israel and the Arab states. The question of mind versus will is man’s ultimate question. It determines our acceptance and tolerance of others, whether we find one innocent or guilty. It influences how we side during war, aid given to nations, to stricken communities, families and animal/environmental organizations. If we feel one’s need is due to circumstance resulting from their ignorance or naiveté, we help. If we feel one knowingly chose the wrong path, we don’t. I believe that man is ruled by will. We humans have understood the importance of will from the beginning of time, as it is ingrained in every religion and is passed from generation to generation. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists alike, despite their differences, hold several similar basic beliefs: Do not kill, steal, lie or screw around. Be charitable, chaste, and respect your parents and elders. For knowingly...
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