The Upper Hand in Debate


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Mar 21 2020 10 mins  

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The First – a 100 word story

She was the first letter in the alphabet and she knew it. A quick look from her was enough to melt most of the alphabet away. People became muted as she walked by, viciously robbed of their speech. She had the upper hand in debate, leaving every other letter far behind. She was a countenance, a word, and a world on her own. She stood on a strong foundation and no one could collapse her. A coma was just a pause for her and no semicolon could keep her away. It was only at the full stop that she stopped.

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Hi there and thanks for stopping by. I’m Guy, and you’re listening to my surreal sketchbook of reality.

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Episode 22, The Upper Hand in Debate

We use languages to communicate and words to understand each other. This episode Is a semi-philosophical look at language. I’m not a professional philosopher by any means and my approach can be quite absurd, illogical and not at all that serious, so – you’ve been warned. Do not take this podcast too seriously. If you tend to take things too seriously, this might not be the podcast for you. Seriously. I mean it. Find another podcast to listen to.

You’re still here? Good. Let’s talk about language. Words don’t really have a meaning from the get-go. Meaning is what we pour into words. Words, when spoken, are just sounds, and the written word is just squiggly lines on a blank piece of paper. It’s the meaning we pour into those words that makes them count, and those meanings, in turn, can make those words of ours very powerful. Words create our story, help us communicate with each other, exchange ideas. When we collect all those words together, they make up our language.

You might think your language is the same as the language of that guy living next door. You are not entirely wrong. Some meanings are almost universal and they are almost the same for everyone. The problem is that language has nuances and the meaning often gets lost in translation, even within the same language. Meanings might not be exactly the same for everyone. Part of this is because we sometimes find meaning between the lines, beyond the words. We might say something but the intonation of our voice can tell our listeners that we mean the exact opposite, even if we haven’t meant to. Someone can write a story that is completely clear to him, only to find out other people understood his story in a completely different way. As I understand this story, this is where my break comes in. I’ll be right back.

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The Traffic Witch – a 100 word story

She had her own vehicle, commonly known as “The Broom”, and she enjoyed driving it through traffic tunnels. The rush of cars coming out through the other side, bumping into each other made her giggle. Getting rid of the evidence was a little messy. Usually, it involved accurately targeted lightning bolts, directed at various witnesses, both in the cars and around them. She did enjoy the various commentators, both on television and on YouTube. She liked it when they called her “a force of nature”. It was when they started connecting her to global warming that she gave up though.

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Welcome back. There are many languages in this world. Some have words that other languages don’t have. Some miss words that seem essential in other languages. Not all languages are created equal, and some seem to define the people who speak them. You can learn several languages, then you’ll have an insight into the minds of nations, how they use words, how they connect them into sentences. The order in which words connect in a sentence might give you insight into what is more important to the people who use a certain language. The very sound of a language might suggest that the people using it have a certain temperament that goes well with the general sound of that language.

You think you understand your own language. You might learn another and think you understand that one as well. You would probably come across languages you don’t understand, and for someone who speaks a completely different language then you, your own language might be a mystery, a code to crack, an enigma. The problem is language in itself doesn’t have a meaning. You have to pour your own meaning into it as you grow up and understand more of your own language and any mistaken meaning gets embedded into your very own unique vocabulary. That’s where misunderstandings come from, and those can sometimes change the fate of nations.

Language can be used to change the course of history or just the life of one human being. Language can be used to write a novel, a symphony or just to order a pizza. Language can be mundane, or it can be magnificent, it can be everything or nothing or anything in between. Language can even be used to write a podcast. This concludes episode 22 of this podcast. Close the door on your way out and don’t forget – I’m just a figment of your imagination.

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