Louis Michael: Word up


It was Wittgenstein that said: “the limits of my language mean the limits of my world”. By this he referred to the idea that the fact that our world is exceedingly verbal, our perception of the world around is shaped and altered by the language we use. 

It is to this end that I propose the importance of conscious language. By consciously being aware of the language we use we can more accurately describe the world around us and more specifically address the actual reality at hand.

One fascinating example of this I’ve recently starting implementing in my own life is my verbal attitude towards food. Since going vegan I’ve discovered the vast world of nutrition lying just below the simple surface of taste and satisfying appetite. In this modern world of processed foods and unnecessary artificial additions the majority of the food on offer contains such little actual nutritional value that to call it food is in fact inaccurate. Continuing to call it food allows this ‘food imposter’ to remain stealing the place of actual food without us noticing; by assuming this name it slips passed undetected, because we do not call it what it actually is. Now, when faced with food that may be delicious in my mouth but will provide my body with nothing so enjoyable, I try to correctly verbally label it in my mind – not food, but pleasure. I am not consuming this for nutrition and energy as I would with actual food, I am only eating for temporary thoughtless enjoyment, so call it what it is. This helps me resist temptation in moments of weakness, but also reminds me of the illusion we all slip into when we fail to question everything. Continuing to give the name of something fresh, natural, nutritional and healthy to something artificially mass produced and conveniently accessible is proof of the power of language. We feed ourselves poison because it is labelled dinner.

Be conscious with your language and suddenly you will gain a new mastery of reality. Reassess the reality around you by questioning the very words that come out of your mouth.

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