Control language. Control the truth.
The famous book entitled 1984 gave birth to the expression “Big Brother is Watching.” What that means is, government is watching you as a citizen. It has the goal of catching you engaging in or fomenting some action it labels seditious.
More than a saying, the quote sums up the fearful premise assumed by the more paranoid segment of Society. They fear their freedom to do whatever they may wish may be at risk. However, is the idea without merit?
Consider the following premise1 that might add to the aura of a government run amok. Consider the possibility of absolute control of the spoken and written word. Control language and you control the masses!
Language and Lingo
The transference of ideas or concepts is communication. It implies a medium through which the transference occurs. That medium is language. Language is ever growing, ever changing. Language is alive. New ideas should not be shackled by old terminology. Language should expand with expanding knowledge.
Yet, a growing language can serve to separate segments of Society that can not keep pace with change. Sometimes subgroups of civilization alter language to their empowerment. Consider some examples.
Law and Lawyers
Individuals who seek redress for harmful acts may face difficulty if they do not obtain the services of a lawyer. One of the factors magnifying the need is the language of jurisprudence. Ordinary citizens rarely know the lingo of the legal system. It may even sound like a foreign language. A lawyer may be little more than a high paid translator.
Science and Scientists
The language used in various fields of science seems foreign to your every day man. The concepts behind the words may seem foreign as well. What is a gastropod? What is a carbocation? What is a lemma? What makes language especially difficult is that some scientists like to use words to make others think he is super intelligent, even superior.
The younger segment of Society enjoys making up an entirely different set of words and meanings. Although some of this is harmless enough, some is designed to hide illicit acts and deceive elders. It is like a form of encryption. Drugs, sex, and other topics may be discussed freely using such encryption.
Control Language via a Hypothetical Orwellian Society
Imagine these headlines: Language to Be Controlled – A Concerned Government Acts. Yes, laws are passed and a language control body is inaugurated. An age of linguistic engineering begins. No words are allowed to be used in speech, in sign, or in writing, that do not first meet the approval of that august body. Penalties are to be incurred by violators.
If anyone overhears unregistered words he may be turned in by his neighbor or a family member. There might conceivably be some benefits, since everyone would understand everyone else.
Scientific and other jargon would be minimized. New words and phrases would be added like molasses, due to the red tape that attends government.
1 Please note this article is intended as creative writing, only. The author engages and favors no political party, and only accepts the monarch appointed over the Kingdom of God.
- Language as the “Ultimate Weapon” in Nineteen Eighty-Four, by Jem Berkes
- Bell Labs: The Alphabet Conspiracy
One thought on “Control Language and You Control the Masses”
[…] article in QuirkyScience shines a different light on how language shapes culture and how culture shapes […]