The Thursday Thesis - 5/07/2018
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I’m writing this on the 4th of July, the traditional - but erroneous – date on which the United States of America celebrates its declaration of Independence from British rule.
Now, it’s a little-known fact that the embryonic United States actually declared themselves independent from Britain – not on the 4th of July – but on the 2nd of July 1776.
Why the delay?
Yep, it took two whole days for the Second Continental Congress to sign-off the Declaration of Independence, as drafted by Thomas Jefferson and the “Committee of Five”. That two-day delay is the reason America shuts down for a holiday on the 4th of July, rather than the 2nd.
An American friend told me “...that piece of paper changed everything”, and she was right – except that she wasn’t.
The piece of paper changed nothing – all the heavy lifting work was done by the words on that piece of paper.
With only words, the drafting committee changed the World.
Putting their beliefs and intentions down on paper transformed ideas into concrete principles and gave the thoughts of the committee members a sort of eternal life.
Words change stuff. The right words change things for the better - the wrong words...
American scholar Noam Chomsky theorises that communication has two levels: the Deep Structure is the meaning to be conveyed, whilst the Surface Structure is the form of words used to convey the Deep Structure.
Think about that for a moment.
Think about the deep, broad, unbounded and unfathomable bond, the innate emotional connection between a parent and child or between lifelong partners.
Love is too small a word for it, yet Love is the universal shorthand for it - in all of its stark simplicity and its infinite, baffling complexity.
Words change everything, especially the words we say about ourselves: they are the way we tell The World who we are, and – more importantly – we tell ourselves who we are.
The words “I do” change who we are in society if spoken in a marriage ceremony.
And the words “I am” change who we are in our own world.
Whatever you say about yourself, you will conform to it, because it is well known that we become what we think about most of the time.
Tell yourself you can’t do something, and you’re probably right.
But tell yourself you won’t quit until you’ve done it, and that’s a whole new ball game.
“So...” I hear you mutter, “...what’s this go to do with Independence Day?”
I’m glad you asked: it’s got everything to do with Independence Day. Without the words on paper which told America what she was and what she believed in, which gave her an identity, America would have remained a resentful colony of England.
And what’s this got to do with you and me on the 4th of July?
Today and every day, we – like America - can declare our own state of independence, using our own words, not the dogma and helplessness of the zealots and the doomsayers, or the indifference of dullards.
What words would you like to speak, write, sing, sign or dance about yourself?
With our very words we summon our own realities
You and I are conjurors incanting “Abracadabra!”
© Neil Cowmeadow 2018
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