Wanted: a new language

Words lay the foundation for our perspective and our culture because they are the means we use to describe how we see the world.

Our language, and within it our words, shape our reality.

I guess this is why I increasingly turn to poetry and the poetic because somehow our current language is not big enough. It doesn’t enable us to handle the complexities and depths of what we encounter. Nor imagine new possibilities with enough colour and nuance.

And I don’t want to settle for a simplistic and mechanistic version of reality.

I’m also still digesting Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, where she talks about the extraordinary difference that our language orientation makes. She illustrates this with the differences between North American indigenous languages and English and their effect on our sense of connection with the natural world. Without us being consciously aware of it.

This challenge also arose when friends from across the world kindly translated The Manifesto for Quiet Disruptors into their mother tongues. We now have the Manifesto available in six languages, but it was fascinating to hear of people’s challenges, even in translating quiet disruptor. It raised all sorts of cultural issues, and for a number, there simply wasn’t a comparable phrase.

If we are going to change our world, we need to start by thinking about the words we use and how we use them. And the effect they have on our consciousness.