Then came the spellchecker, google web fonts and all that other stuff. But fact is, the word has always shaped reality for us carbon-based bipeds, and it’s become especially powerful in today’s communication driven society. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we live in a logocracy. And that’s great news for us writers!
The meaning of logocracy, the rule of words or government by the power of words, has undergone several changes throughout history. Words spoken by military leaders in times of turmoil motivated the masses. Words spoken by religious leaders in times of hardship gave people hope. Words spoken by artistic leaders have influenced generations, and the words written down by political leaders have become law.
The combination of words and power has always made history. It is a matter of debate if the power came first and made the word compelling, or if it was the word that brought power to its speaker. Sure, we only tend to listen if the person who talks has some power or authority already. But if you doubt that words can give power where there was none before, just think of the energetic speeches that have elevated Hitler from the rank of soldier to Führer of the Third Reich, or of the 17-minute speech given by Matin Luther King that has irreversibly transformed the relationship between races.
We proudly say we live in an era of communication, but we’re still fresh beginners. Technological advancement, the diversification of the media, the internet and globalization on several planes have given the word a lot more weight than it had before. As writers, we’re highly aware that skillfully combined words can create entire worlds and offer unforgettable experiences to those who receive them. We’re also aware that careless, harsh words can hurt and hinder personal growth. Words can both offer and take freedom of mind. And today, words can travel around the globe in a minute and affect people much faster.
Logocracy has never before been so widespread as it is today. Our lives are ruled by words. No matter where we turn, language shapes our perception. It interprets the images we see, accompanies the music we hear, fills the screens that illuminate our homes at dusk, and rolls down the social media news feeds that shape our children’s self-perception.
As writers we’re both slaves and masters of words. We build edifices with words and then live in them, we tear down language to the bone, and then reshape it with new meaning. And in the end, we’re nothing but lunatics caught in a lexic labyrinth, laboring and lamenting our loads but loving every ludicrous minute of it!
Ha! Take this, #atozchallenge!
*I need a freakin drink!*
This blog post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, April 2012