In life, what are we giving voice to? Of all we hear, think or witness, which sentiments are we wrapping up with our words and sending out there to form part of it all? Given we’re perhaps completely free to respond however we see fit, it’s interesting to consider how we’re choosing to use our voice within whatever situations we’re finding ourselves. Doesn’t it, potentially, make a huge difference? (Notes One)
Sometimes I wonder why we’d ever choose rudeness – what we imagine that adds or achieves. This gesture of throwing punches; putting people down; pushing them off balance. What purpose does it serve between us? Maybe it’s simply a form of idealistic attack or defence, this intellectual or personal sparring that’s seeming so commonplace now.
There must be a fine line between “people” and “ideas”, though: a subtle distinction between who someone is, the ideas their experience has led them to accept, and the life of those ideas themselves (Notes Two). It’s just seeming an increasingly blurry line. The lives we lead and ways of thinking that run alongside them – the theories, conclusions, beliefs, reactions – perhaps merging too closely for us to confidently split them apart.
Almost as if “our life” within any given society dictates our ideas, our concerns, our words and conversations. As if the circumstances of birth and opportunities of environment inevitably “shape” the thoughts that will appeal to us and attitudes we’ll have toward things. As if it’s all “there” and we simply step into our role, play our part, defend what we have or fight for what we don’t.
Do we just pick up what we find around us and give voice to that? Whatever ideas, prejudices or trains of thought surrounded us, taking up those threads and continuing the conversation on from whatever side we happen to choose. Attitudes about gender, assumptions around justice, beliefs as to life’s meaning or worth all becoming part of “our” conversation as we lend our voice to those time-worn ideas. (Notes Three)
Maybe we have no choice? Maybe all we can do is accept the ideas society hands to us and make them our own, somehow. Seeing life through the lens they offer us, casting everything in their light, and drawing somewhat similar conclusions. Ideas themselves existing within a certain set of theories on life, though, isn’t there almost an inevitability to where they’ll lead us? Potentially, into the same battles, divisions and gridlock.
So, while “saying what we think” may be an inalienable human right, the question of how we’re using it seems important. It’s amazing to think we have such freedom: that, of all we meet in life, we can choose to give voice to any number of beautiful ideals, values or sentiments. We can serve to defuse negativity or add to it; speak for the powerless or drown them out; shine light on hope or on despair.
As humans, isn’t the choice over how we’ll respond on the level of words an incredibly powerful opportunity?
Notes and References:
Note 1: Questions around choice
Note 1: What we create by our presence
Note 1: The difference humanity makes
Note 2: Joining the dots
Note 2: Frameworks of how we relate
Note 2: The thought surrounding us
Note 2: Going towards the unknown
Note 3: On whose terms?
Note 3: Where do we get our ideas from?
Note 3: All we want to do passes through community