Words are not the problem, attachment to them is

It is not words that are a problem, it is our attachment to them that causes problems.

Here, I use the word “word” to the mean words, concepts, ideas, discursive thought patterns, language itself

Fine, you say, I’ll just use words without getting attached to them.

This runs into two problems though. Firstly, it is very hard in practice. Secondly, it goes against the evolutionary tribalism that’s built into us.

Holding two opposing thoughts in our head, giving them varying amounts of credence without discarding either outright. Acting on the one to which we attach higher belief, without being angered by the presence of the other, and without being lulled by the inaction of both-sideism. All this sounds very exhausting if done consciously, and it is.

But some people do it quite well. So it can be done. All of us do it to some extent, that’s how we learn.

It involves accepting hypocrisy, without falling into cynically using it to justify dishonesty. Retaining honesty is easy, mentally, but what is hard is dealing with the external repercussions of previous words.

Manav Rathi
Nov 2023