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'sticks and stones'

Posted by Word Camel on November 01, 2003

In Reply to: 'sticks and stones' posted by pdianek on October 31, 2003

: "I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone would draw out the logic and apply it to words and then use it as a justification to curtail speech."

: Hmmm. Did I say "curtail speech"? I did not.

: What I was responding to was the notion that pain from speech can be as profound as pain from physical attack. And when it comes to speech versus actions, when speech is produced, that IS an action, the action of letting the rest of us know what is on an individual's mind -- or in the case of a group (e.g., the Ku Klux Klan), its collective mind.

: If MRI's show (as they do) that painful speech is processed by the same part of the brain as physical pain, that's a breakthrough in understanding why non-physical attacks hurt so much.

: If you were fortunate enough to experience an idyllic childhood/youth/adulthood/marriage/etc, with never an unhealthy thing said to you, congratulations. Most people haven't. Acknowledging that their pain is genuine despite the absence of blood/bruises/contusions/broken bones, is the first step in healing it.

You didn't talk about curtailing speech, nor did ESC and did I mean to imply that you did. What I did was say was that I was "... surprised that no one who commented on the substance of the post has really thought through its broader implications". I was just drawing out the logic.

As for words hurting, you could argue that silence at a key moment is just as painful or moreso. Everyone has difficult experiences as a child. Overcoming them and learing to put them in their proper perspective is part of growing up. Perhaps that is why the phrase "sticks and stones" has endured for so long.