In the beginning…
No matter where you fall on the spiritual spectrum, there can be no doubt the power of words. Whether its the biblical approach, “In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1) or a more contemporary view, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” (JK Rowling, Harry Potter, and the Deathly Hallows).
And here we find ourselves, locked up, quarantined, isolated from our sense of normality, and left with only words. From the daily self-serving rhetoric in the news to the uplifting social media feeds, words continue to hold sway. In my academic life, I have written many critical essays on the power of words, and know the influence that language has on shaping our perspectives. (Email if you’d like to read one) Even reinvented as a fashion designer, I hope to inspire against the semantics of labels. I realize that we are in an unprecedented point in history, we are living the pandemic we have heard about during the dark ages (Obviously not quite that bad, words are powerful, yes?).
The words we hear…
Yet, I am saddened by the words we see and hear, and the lemming-like belief of that rhetoric. Absolute power, blame in absurd conspiracies, and even a voice in favor of anarchy. I write this is a cautionary piece, I’ve tried to veer away from personal opinion, (Terribly difficult to be sure). Here are a few facts; COVID-19 is real, the impact is real, for proof, look around. Close your ears off and open your eyes. We are in for a global cultural shift. With no end in sight, you can be sure the effects will have long-lasting consequences and certainly will not abate overnight.
Can you look closer?
But, we can look to our futures and those of our children (or at least the generation behind yours). Find a glimmer of hope to light our way through the darkness. To do that we must look beyond the headlines, dig deeper into the words we see and hear. Even now, my words, look closer, dig deeper. The innate power of words can be taken back by controlling the way in which you interact with them. The tendency is to be complacent in our listening, change that, and engage in the language. Understand communication, propaganda, opinion, and fact. Philosophy has long argued the form of arguments and thus given us a foundation in which to become active listeners. Ask where did that come from, why are you saying that now, at this time, is there more information out there? We are in the age of information, use it. But wisely.
In this picture, is the artistic creation mine? I made the garment, I took the photo. I even did the post-editing and of course the golden interpretation. Look closer, where is the true art? It’s in the person wearing the clothes. Haleigh Burckley is the art beneath the gold, living and breathing somewhere beyond this moment captured in pixels.
Find that beauty in words, don’t just follow blindly. We have struggled to continue the work of our forefathers for over 250 years. There’s still work to do. The world thought American democracy was a joke in the late 18th century. Let’s not prove them right. It requires our engagement (Vote, look beyond the headlines) and requires our cooperation. It does not have room for ego, arrogance, or naivety.