This I Believe

Michael - Oak Lawn, Illinois
Entered on September 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I Believe in the Power of Words.

I am a voracious reader; I don’t eat books, but rather the words inside them. I like to think that I’m stronger for that which I’ve devoured. Words shape the world and our perceptions of the world.

As a shy child I was thrown into the world of reading. At first only towering dinosaurs assaulted the world behind my eyes, but soon my mind and path in life accelerated. I eventually came to see through words instead of retinas children who lived their lives in a boxcar, stories so mind bending that my parents had been forced to check under the bed for monsters and then quick check again incase the monsters had hidden themselves from view the first time. Books don’t merely hold words, they trap them so that the flowing runes can’t escape and assault the minds of the unprepared, the unsuspecting. For words open doorways and portals that have transported myself and many other impressionable minds into the second world war, chambers of dishonorable kings, and the hearts of dying stars.

The pen is mightier than the sword, some say this is an archaic phrase and perhaps they’re right, but unlike so many walls and cities this truth has survived the test of time. Wars can be started with either an assassination or an insult, savagery or script, but they can only be ended with the latter. Words can be an obligation, a contract, a promise, but the sword can only be a threat. In the end threats force one to arm oneself for protection or to run away, and when either of those happens no one is plowing the fields and creating prosperity; it takes words, phrases for the world to grow.

How do we know the king was honorable or the witch vile, because words hold the power to mutate that which they describe, able to remake three unsociable old women into a trio of scheming hags. Leaders of the past shaped the history that would eventually surround them with words depicting them favorably, as every ruler wants to be an Alexander the Great rather than Billy the bed wetter.

I see that words have power, a greatness within themselves; some words can share more than ideas, they can convey: feelings, emotions, faith, hope, glimpse into the beyond, and so much more. Words such as “I love you” can result in kisses, marriage, or fast and fiery passion. “I hate you” can bring forth a slap to the cheek, tears, fists, or shame. Love and hate, hearing them now they don’t seem like much, but as we’ve seen before, there is something almost magical within words that can make or break people, relationships, understandings, and contracts. And if words are magic, then shear wizardry must be involved if simple words like angle, hypotenuse, structural stress, and a torrent of numbers can result in steel buildings that pierce the clouds.

I believe in the power of words.