Monday, May 2, 2011

on the way to language

When the salesman starts talking do your eyes glaze over; do your ears close a little; do you begin to daydream about your kids or... ? What happens when you listen, or watch, the news? Do you change channels; perhaps watch Veggie Tales with your kids, or even better: turn off the TV? Is Language alive. Do metaphors enhance our lives? Does Language reveal or hide? Persuade or do damage? Or , as always is the answer "It depends"?

My concern here, though, is the language of daily living.

I confess that I may have been pulling my own Rip Van Winkle. Driven to learn, to make money, to nurture my children, and to find balance, I find that i wasn't fully engaged with the world. Particularly the way in which we of the world communicate, use language to shape our world.

Never in my lifetime has the use of language emerged with such singular and dramatic force: a force for change; a force to bring about unification; a force for getting truth out to everyone; a force for lies, distortion, and manipulation.

Over the past two years, I've noticed that the level of disinformation and actual yelling has increased if one listens to cable and other news' outlets. The business of government has been forced to a sluggish, muddied, grimy cesspool more like paralyzed sewage rather than a fountain of living inspiration and truth.

I've gone back to school to work on a PhD - across a number of disciplines: literature, philosophy, and business (or, history & business). I wanted to build on my business acumen and successes while improving my own ability to create, think, learn, and lead. I have read quite a bit of Heidegger. There is so much more to read, digest, and absorb before I can begin to try to share it.

I have found out that Language is one part of what makes us human. I have learned that there is something called "Fixed English" another version called "Free English" and that there is a still newer version called "Words that Work".

I've tried to remain silent and listen over these last few months. I haven't wanted to pollute the public discussion by yelling, which in today's world seems to have emerged as the WAY by which communicators get their message across.

One thing I have come to realize is that Language is the key to unlock the potentiality of the world again. Language creates world. Language allows the unhiddenness of truth to become unconcealed. In order for Language to retain and have the full force of its power to create world, we must engage in authentic listening. Not something we American are good at.

Which takes me back to the salesman whose elevator speech has just made my eyes glaze over and my head to nod.

I really do wish I had answers. I know that I believe that I do - at least in the world of B2B CRM strategy, sales, marketing, and a few other areas try some authentic listening for myself and for all of us. We then can use Language to create world.