The Death or Resurrection of Words

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We think and invest in symbols. The investment serves for a time. But a symbol set can only embody so much light and fire. Then, as we notice its inadequacies, the symbol begins to die. Having served us for a time, the language runs its course and we find ourselves ready to move on. Discarding thoughts and their corresponding symbols, we pass to new thought and subtler use of the mind. Some hold their symbol set closely, as if to squeeze every bit of life from it. For others, a set of symbols or words quickly becomes oppressive and must be changed more frequently. When to keep and when to discard and move on, is individual.

Otherwise considered, there are at least two ways to deal with vague, ambiguous, or troublesome words. One is to drop them in favor of more precise and fitting language. The other is to redeem them, resurrect them, dust them off, polish them until they shine and are again serviceable. While most any word can be redeemed, the question often is, in a given case, is it worth the effort? Redemption is sometimes more work and less effective than the adoption of a new verbal body for our thoughts.

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