Thank you for the comments you all posted and the many emails on this essay.  I am reposting this as an anthology: broken up in four unique pieces.

Clichés … Clichés are cliché because they are soooo … damned cliché!

“The pen is mightier than the sword”. There is an absolute truth, first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839. Fantastic wisdom. And, now, shockingly, reduced to an ordinary cliché.

Every writer, actually everybody, must understand the power of words. The power of words is astoundingly far beyond that ubiquitous cliché.

So much good, and even more importantly, bad and evil in the world started out — starts with words. To the good, no more powerful words I can quote that some spoken by Churchill, Nietzsche, Voltaire, Keating, Orwell, Nabokov. And, certainly the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., without equal, the greatest orator in our lifetimes.

More so now than ever before in history, people become desensitized to compendiums of words, however unacceptable, even despicable, if repeated often and forcefully. Social media has been a turbo-boost accelerant: people become numb to words over increasingly shorter and shorter time.

Social media, those mostly sophomoric outlets that have and continue to cheapen and inexorably alter the social fabric, are destroying any pretense of thoughtful expression. Those make millions perhaps billions of people  believe they are capable of independent thought! Nah: 99% of them  end up in solitary confinement with a keyboard. And believe that anybody beyond first-bloodline folks (ok, not all) cares about them.

However, abominations like Twitter/Instagram/their brethren have created essentially free and unfettered vehicles to disseminate all manner of at best claptrap thinking. And mostly, just mindless keyboard pounding. The very intent of their devotees is what a “warning” label should be: “Caution: what you write may be combustible!”

And, perhaps a lawyerly-worded warning about potential cancer of the intellect.

Loathe to point to the intellectually and morally perplexing words of Goebbels, however astonishingly those came to be, well, prophetic, driving the singularly most successful public relations event in history: the rise of German fascism with Hitler at the helm. Frighteningly prophetic and apropos right through the decades thereafter: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Ok. Ok. Perhaps, regressively adjusting for the passage of time, certainly since ancient Romans and Greeks.

As people become desensitized to words, perhaps a matter of ordinary survival, they elect to ignore their destructive power. Worse yet, entire segments of populations, astoundingly all social and economic sectors of the populations, by definition including the relevant electorate, simply adopt them. Thus making all those dictums acceptable.

Those then morph into accepted concepts by either widely and by relevant segments of populaces. Once widely adopted, naturally those mutate into entirely sickening social norms. Beyond that, one can readily predict the natural progression to social, economic, political actions. And genuine disasters.

“How a love so right can turn out to be so wrong…. “ That from those philosophers of yore, the Bee Gees. Not picking on the boys, however, using their remarkable and convenient sing-song words as a frame for the danger in throwing about awesome words, with seeming disregard for their power. That, not a flashing yellow light. Rather, a solid red! The corruption of powerful words and the sometimes-concepts those trumpet. Or bely.

Best consider that never has any concept, beacon of life, utterance of a fundamental value, ever fit on one line on a “post it note”.

Mind your words carefully. They are much more lethal than any sword.

More on Power Of Words in the rest of this Anthology that follows this post and The banality of evil: the Holocaust. How and why …

©2022. Steven J. Manning. All rights reserved worldwide. Any reproduction, in part or whole, in any medium whatsoever is strictly prohibited.