WORDS ARE NOT NEUTRAL ARE WE THE VICTIMS?
Odete Martins Bigote
The English novelist, Rudyard Kipling, once said that “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” Indeed, words can make you cry, can make you laugh, and can kill you. Why? Because of the “images” that they leave in our minds. Although most of us may not realize what is happening, such images have consequences sooner or later. Words may change from time to time, from culture to culture, from continent to continent, but something stays in our minds: the effect. Can we become the victims?
Before I came to America, I had my diplomas in the English language, and I had lived in England for a few years. I had met many Americans. So I thought, ” Well I understand just about everything they say, but I wonder if they can understand me.” When I arrived in New York City, just about the second day, I visited the New York Public Library, on 5th Avenue. I walked in and went straight to the information desk. I asked the attendant: ” Miss, could you please tell me where is the lift?” She stayed motionless, and stared at me without saying a word. I thought that she could not speak, and that may be they hired handicapped people. I repeated the question again but to no avail. Then, I decided to make a speech, while the people behind me kept lining up and waiting… ” Miss, I said, this is the 2nd largest library in America; 50 million books, 48 million manuscripts and charts, beautiful architecture, and look at those lions outside… They are marble … and you do not have a lift? She finally answered. She actually whispered to me in a nervous tone: ” Non! ” I thought, at least, she could talk but, may be, she could not hear well. So, I decided to try something new. I looked at her and said, ” Miss, this is the first floor, right?” Then, I raised my right hand, pointed my thumb to the ceiling and yelled, ” I want to go up, up, up! ” “Ah!” She answered as her body language changed. She was obviously very relieved. Then, she added: ” Turn right, first left and you’ll see the elevator! ” It was hard to believe how much I was learning in such a short time, and I told her: ” What, what! Why do you Americans, known as practical people, use such long, Latin word “elevator”? The British are certainly more practical this time because they use an easier word “lift”! That was my first American-English experience.
My second experience has to do with my first date in America. Actually it was a blind date arranged by the young man’s sister who I had met in Europe. He was very tall, fair hair, broad shoulders, and of course, blue eyes. I remember holding hands with him. Since he was so tall, when he talked to me, he looked down at me, while I looked up him. I do not remember where we went, but I’ll never forget what he said. ” So, tell me, why did you say you came to America? ” he asked. “Oh! You know why…I came to see the United States, and to visit people like your sister.” He looked at me attentively and asked me to repeat my answer. I did. Then, he added: ” Oh! my dear, that is not the reason why you came to America.”
I could not believe what he was saying. I thought if it was possible that this man knew more about my life than I did. I got curious and asked, “What? What are you trying to say?” He, then, answered, ” What I’m trying to say is that you came to America because of alimony, and nothing else! “
I had never heard the word ‘alimony’ before. The English say “settlement.” I knew that there were divorces everywhere including in America but I did not know that word. I had no idea what it meant, and I told him. He insisted that I knew very well what he was talking about, as I kept trying to find out what the word meant. ” Oh, You mean almonds! I asked him, as he stared at me. “It can’t be almonds. You could not possibly be telling me that I came to America because of nuts! Could you please spell the word for me? “
He never spelled it, and I did not find out what ‘alimony’ meant until a few days later. When someone explained to me that it meant a settlement that usually the husbands pay their ex-wives after the divorce, I was flabbergasted.
Albert Einstein said that words are twice removed from reality. Words play no major role in the way we think. What influences us are the images the words convey. This applies to scientists and everybody else. Now, what happened to this man? By now he has three ex-wives to support and, of course, pay alimony. None of the ex-wives ever worked. He also has five kids.
Visiting the Empire State Building, and 5th Avenue was nothing compared with the images that I still have in my mind of these events. Indeed, words are not neutral. They leave a thought/image in our mind that is imprinted for life. They have consequences. They are powerful drugs; a beautiful metaphor. We may think that we are the victims.
But can we really become the victims of the images imprinted in our minds, or are we just watching the unfolding of a script that has been written? Years ago, I used to think that we are victims. However, since I started to write and did my inner search, I realized that we are not victims. How can we be victims when we choose our own path and write our own script?
There are many books, training manuals, etc., that teach that we are what we think, and that we can manifest our thoughts using, for instance, affirmations. An affirmation is based on a thought that is transformed into a sentence, and if repeated over and over again, it may or may not materialize. All of us repeat affirmations but most of the time we are not conscious. I think the young man that took me out on my first date in America, probably repeated throughout his life to himself and to others, the word “alimony,” until it became so ingrained in his thought system that it happened to him. He had to pay alimony not once but three times.
Big questions arise here: where do our thoughts come from? Which one comes first, images or thoughts, and are they interrelated? We may not yet know the answers to these questions, but we must agree that since they play such a major role in our entire lives, they must come from a very fundamental base.
Let’s contemplate the following quotes:
“The word of the Lord came to me: before I formed you in the womb, I knew you for my own; before you were born I consecrated you. I appointed you prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:45
Plato, the Greek philosopher who lived 400 years before Christ, wrote in the Republic, Book X : ” No destiny shall cast lots for you, but you shall choose your own Destiny… The blame is for the chooser, God is blameless.”
Perhaps it is easy for me to accept and to understand these two quotes, since I’m comfortably seated at my desk feeling healthy and in good spirits. But what about others who may be in great stress, due to a major event in their lives, such as, death of a family member, or a very difficult divorce? How can they accept the possibility that they have chosen the event, specially without feeling guilty?
Modern physics, or better Quantum physics, teach us that there is no separation, and everything and everyone is implicated in the other. If an Intelligence, or we may say, a Higher Self, or God, participated in the formation or planning of our life prior to our arrival on earth, we too are part of that so called Intelligence. As Jesus said “My Father and I are One.” He already knew about Quantum physics 2000 years ago. Our life is planned in advance. We are appointed missions before we are born, and are endowed with free will. The choices are ours.
American physicist, David Bohm, spoke about the fact that Quantum energy is indivisible; observer and observed are one and the same. Separation is an illusion. He was not referring to what we can see. He was referring to what is beyond matter, and yet part of us. We are not victims: we are simply watching the unfolding of the script of our lives that each of us wrote together with that so called Intelligence. The script was written at a level that we cannot understand, at least for now, at this stage in human development. Herein lies the mystery of what we call “life.”
Does this mean that, for instance, a person who is going through a terrible divorce situation chose that particular event? The answer is “Yes.” The choice was done when we were at a non-local level, beyond space and time and, of course, before we were born, as already referred to. At that time, we have the whole picture of our needs mapped up in front of us, but we do not have the limitations on our consciousness that we have after we are born.
I find comfort in the acceptance of these concepts which were unknown to me until I started my inner search. It is when I’m not at my best that I appreciate these concepts the most. It is then that I ask myself; “There must be a need for me to go through this ordeal.” I’m not conscious of this “need” now. But I’m aware that there is a part of me that knows and understands what is going on in my mind, and in my life. There is always a purpose. I must have faith. You too must have faith.
But one should not be sad or disappointed about our choices which sometimes are very hard to accept. One should really praise the person that chose to write such a script. Our short life on earth has a purpose, indeed a great and honorable purpose: to correct our erroneous thoughts of separation. The means each individual chooses to achieve that correction is not up to us to try and understand while we are in the form of matter.
In the end, then, words produce images and influence our thoughts. We invented them as we wrote the script of our lives. They stayed in our memory. When the right time comes we’ll remember them. But we are not the victims, since we have free will, we made our choices, Be grateful and be joyous! Appreciate your courage to be here on earth in spite of the difficulties you knew you’d encounter. Alleluia!
Article written by
Odete Martins Bigote