Saturday, March 15, 2008

SIGNIFICANCES 9

#14: energy

If ever I tell you what beautiful energy you have, I hope you'll know I don't mean it in a New Age rainbow-coloured invisibly smiling aura around you kind of way.

For me, when applied to a person, energy has a special meaning: what do you believe about why you're doing what you're doing? That belief may be a conscious one, but more commonly not. Anyway, it's that simple, but simple things aren't necessarily easy to understand.

Think of some of the set-piece contexts: auditions, performances, interviews, persuading, dancing, speeches, designing, lovemaking, meeting new people, work, debates, leading, cooking, teaching. Ask yourself. When articulated, the answers often vary widely from person to person.

The word, to me, is useful because there's no other word I can think of that is so apposite (certainly not to be confused with motivation) as it's such a powerful filter upon our behaviour in any given context, on a biological level even, but certainly in terms of our verbal and nonverbal responses. Yet people's untrained energy is fragile and vulnerable to all sorts of external and internal influences (as discussed in BEHAVIOURAL 2) but - when trained to be harnessed, protected and exploited - and speaking here as an artist, it is also one of the most powerful ways we can achieve meaningful responses.

#15: even

"You look even more lovely in that dress, darling..."
"Our new album is even
more groundbreaking..."
"Even you should know how to spell 'weird'..."
"Even a woman should know to read a map..."

What a sneakily sly word even is. Never has such a small word been so loaded with so many assumptions. Although the emphasis in the utterance is elsewhere, the real meaning is compacted into a small word that in real time speech is almost imperceptible. In the first example above it cunningly presupposes that you always look lovely, yet at least that's more obvious than the last example which assumes women as somehow inferior to men. The powerful subtext carried by even is markedly different to the lengthier and more noticeable verbal content. That's why it's one of the weapons of choice in the arsenal of the sophist.

A defence to this chicanery? Well, whenever you hear the word being used, stop and perhaps even ask yourself what presupposition is being smuggled through with the other (less important) words? You might even find that enhanced awareness becoming even more useful than learning ways of using it yourself.

3 comments:

Ea-M. said...

"Even you should know how to spell 'weird'..."

Even i did, the "right" way just looks wi... - eh - odd.

David Cotner said...

You have beautiful energy, too - although spectrally it tends towards the ultraviolet and the infrared, founding father-daddy figure!

Miss Kerry said...

father daddy figure..

hmmm. I wouldn't say that.
Paternal qualities perhaps.

I would say for myself, WB seems more toward red spectrum. Warm colour. But women see red colours more so perhaps its unconscious bias. Ive not met him in person.