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The Tyranny of Words Paperback – 1 Jan 1966
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What's so great about this book is that it's not just about semantics for the sake of being academic - this book was written with a bigger purpose. Stuart Chase demonstrates holistic thinking, i.e. how this knowledge of language fits into the wider picture of society and the future of humankind.
Scientific in approach and enjoyable to read, I highly recommend this book to anybody and everybody.
Here's my little speech on the bigger picture:
As far as I can tell, one of the main reasons we're in such a messy society is because of lack of awareness of our own fallibility, and the effects/consequences of our actions i.e. broken thinking (including massive egos, faith, political ideology, etc) getting in the way of seeing what's really happening.
We will only get out of our mess if we humans improve the way we think; i.e. drastically reduce our logical fallacies, cognitive biases and distortions; and improve the way we communicate; i.e. "nonviolently", using evidence, being empathic, and using far less abstract language when action is needed- with clear physical referents.
This book is one of a few key texts to help change the zeitgeist so we can create a global peaceful civilisation :)
And a quote from the book which I just think is awesome:
"People are not "dumb" because they lack mental equipment; they are dumb because they lack an adequate method for the use of that equipment. Those intellectuals whose pastime is to sit on high fences and deplore the innate stupidity of the herd are on a very shaky fence.
Often, if they but knew it, they are more confused than the man on the street, for they deal in loftier abstractions. When I hear a man say, "We never can get anywhere because the masses are so stupid," I know that I am in the presence of a mythmaker, caught on his high perch behind the bars of a verbal prison.-" pg. 28-29
Another thing I'd like to add. Half way through the book Chase starts to argue that state economic planning is progress and uses quotes from people who oppose this way of thinking as a demonstration in to meaningless words and rhetoric. I couldn't help but notice this bias in examples, he does touch upon Marx being influenced by philosophers who believed in all sorts of myths and the impact this has on Marx's credibility, but in the end praises Marx.
The first half of the book deals with a science of communication, then later you'll notice this shift in to state economic planning and his praising of 'The New Deal'(which prolonged the great depression), and if you've studied behavioral science and understand the influence money has on human behavior you'll realize the monetary and political system ,whether socialist of free enterprise, is responsible for most harmful behavior we have today.
Essential reading for virtually everyone !
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