In Words We Trust




by Michael Tsarion

Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs – Pearl Hurd


Good advice, but who obeys it? Who can afford to? And how many of us don’t make good use of language and words to express ourselves? Can you imagine staying silent for any period of time, like a year? We might find ourselves going insane in half the time.


There are certain gurus and monks who take vows of silence in order to hear the voice of God more clearly. However, studies show that the members of monastic orders – Trappists, Cistercians and Buddhists, etc – adhering to the vow, end up communicating between one another with their feet. So much for holy vows.


Small talk, chatter, babble and gossip fill our world. Philosophers speak of the difference between sprach or speech and mere chit-chat. Have we contemplated the difference, or spent any quality time simply listening? The German philosopher Heidegger believed that real speech is silence and the ability to really listen. He implied that the more a person speaks the less awareness they have of themselves or anything else. Maybe that’s why there’s not a lot of awareness around.


And yet linguists remind us of language’s formidable complexity, and the numerous grammatical and syntactical rules behind any utterance or composition. Indeed, Owen Barfield believed the kind of language used nowadays is a late development, and that in prehistory language grew out of song. Other experts agree, confirming that ancient languages such as Urdu and Sanskrit developed from bird song.


There was certainly symbolic significance to the 26 English letters that developed from the primary Cadmean alphabet.


The shape of the letter “A,” for example, replicates the peak of a mountain on which the gods supposedly reside. The letter “O” is based on the shape of the lips when this letter’s sound is pronounced. The shape and sound of the letter “S” is based on the shape, movement and hiss of snakes. The letter “U” represents the womb and holy receptacle. The letter “M” is based on the movement of water. “Z” is the lightning flash. Apparently our language is something created for us not by us. What we know as language is Nature speaking to herself through us. It’s an intriguing thought.

Owen Barfield (1898-1997), philologist, theosophist and philosopher, was a member of the Inklings, along with C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. He knew all there was to know about the ancient origins and purpose of language.


Barfield showed that words have largely lost their magical connotations, inflections and qualities. The shallowness of today’s “swing” languages mirrors the shallowness and artificiality of human thought and lifestyle.


But what of the world’s great scriptures and holy texts? Are they the Word of God or of man? Well, the opening line of the Gospel of John reads “In the beginning was the word…” I think there is a certain humor here. Perhaps the author added the line with a sly wink because, after all, it is his word that begins the book, not God’s.


It’s enough of a mystery that humans have developed the power of speech. No other species comes close. What is it we’re trying to say? Is it simply all about survival? How so? After all, animals survive without developing sophisticated languages. No primate has ever attempted to paint a cave wall or compose a sonnet.


And what of the dangers of words and language? With words we conjure images in our minds. And as the political world repeatedly demonstrates, words inflame minds and emotions, often leading to conflict and aggression. Where does the destructive power of words come from? Why did it develop, and will things ever change for the better?


Hail Caesar! Heil Hilter! Deutchland Uber Alles! Rule Britannia! Death or Glory! Onward Christian Soldiers! Erin Go Bragh! Fuck the Pope! Liberty Equality, Fraternity! Workers Unite! Power to the People! The only good Indian is a dead Indian! Work will set you free! You’re either for us or against us! No Child Left Behind! War on Poverty! Yes We Can! Free Stuff! Black Lives Matter!…


Many will respond saying that without verbal communication there’d be no society or culture at all. And surely it’s not only the words spoken, but also the tone of voice that carries and conveys our messages. Think of the mother-child connection, and remember that each voice has a certain uniqueness even though the words spoken are fairly generic.


What is more, words comfort. They soothe, uplift and inspire. They restore faith during dark periods when confusion reigns. What would the world be without eloquent sages and teachers? By way of their statements and counsel we get to judge their sincerity. We can tell if they mean what they say, or if they are simply “Wormtonguing” us to death with their sophistry. As C. S. Lewis stated, the difference between God and Satan is that the latter tempts while the former woos.


One must never “transcend” (or evade) suffering. It’s the sign that something is radically amiss with your existence. You must embrace and learn from it. Walk with suffering and listen to every golden word. However, the fact remains that making a statement such as “Transcend Your Suffering,” by way of verbal utterance, has little connection to the actual doing of it. There’s little point describing an action that hasn’t even happened yet. Too bad this addiction to the word is so widespread.


Words may have lost some of their original magical power, but politicians still find that their statements and proclamations profoundly incite the masses emotionally and physically. One need only recall the influence of megalomaniacal orators Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill, Franco, Tito, Khrushchev, Castro and Thatcher to get the point. One has only to remember how many millions have willing marched to their deaths hypnotized by some political slogan.


Words: So innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them – Nathaniel Hawthorne


There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic – Diane Setterfield


And what of the hurt and heartache words often bring? Have harsh, demeaning words not shaped your personality from the start? How few words it takes, from a parent or sibling, to entirely crush your self-esteem and will. How few words it takes in school for a teacher or headmaster to utterly humiliate and cast your self-image to the winds. How few sneering words it takes at work for a boss or co-worker to undermine your competence and security. How few it takes for a husband or wife to blast your spirit and sense of reality to smithereens.


Were you ever told “I hate you!…” by someone you thought a friend? Did you ever hear someone say “We won’t be friends forever, you know?” Did a mother or father ever shame you, saying “Aah, when your grown up and married, you’ll forget all about me…I’ll be left with no one?” Have you not heard them tell you endlessly “No one knows my suffering…no one cares?”


And what about yourself? Haven’t you deliberately attempted to add conviction to your speech? Don’t you strive to speak passionately and make an impact? Don’t you wish to write that stirring bestselling book or make a gripping public address? Isn’t it vital to your ego to have people agree with everything you say? Haven’t you been seduced by the slickest of liars to make a mess of your life and the world?



Words have a magical power. They can either bring the greatest happiness or the deepest despair – Sigmund Freud


Clearly, most people waste no time worrying about the impact of their words. Those in power certainly speak a lot without qualms. This is because addicts of power enjoy misusing the power of words. In fact, for them it’s all about the words and nothing about the consequences.


Many of the world’s top life-coaches – such as Anthony Robbins, Bob Proctor and John deMartini, etc – buy themselves luxury homes and yachts by mastering the power of words. Men of this sly type refer to themselves as “Behavioral Specialists.” They know how behavior is changed by way of words and the mouth uttering them. They know that their followers are addicted to words, and that they’d choose the word over the thing any day. The “thing” is in reality, whereas the word is only in the head. And there’s nothing people love less than reality.



The soothsayers know that words and vocal tone matter enormously when it comes to mass control. Consequently, they master the skill of speaking convincingly and passionately, taking full advantage of a public unaware that the word is not the thing.


Their utterances are passionate, assertive, confident, resolute, promissory and seductive. Their language is styled like hair, brushed and groomed like whiskers, and polished like a million dollar Lamborghini. Verbal Persuaders relish watching people in their thousands cleave to their every word, unaware that the word is not the thing. Tapes and DVDS sell in their billions, and seminars are packed to the rafters with people high on words and the cult of personality, not one of them aware of how they’re prostituting themselves before ruthless self-serving cutpurses.


The words of these charlatans eventually deafen us to our autologue. They hypnotize and slowly goad us into practicing the techniques of self-hypnotism. None of it would be possible without the power and magical influence of words on minds. So it’s not simply about mega success, attainment, prosperity and living like a king. It’s not about confidence and thinking positively. That’s the great collective fallacy of our age. No! It’s simply about hearing someone speak about it. It’s your addiction to this that the con-men rely upon. It’s what makes them rich.



Neurologist and psychologist Julian Jaynes (1920-1997) offered a unique explanation for why we have such a obsession with the words and advice of other people.


From Napoleon Hill to Bob Proctor, from Billy Graham to Joel Osteen, it’s a case of sophistry, pure and simple. The gullible horde of followers secretly wishing to have the gift of the gab themselves, beg them for tips on enhancing lifestyle, careless of what it takes to experience real life. Behind it all lies their fear of life and perpetual acts of self-deception.


Psychologically it’s about the “little man” syndrome, by which we submit to the will of others, hoping to avoid taking responsibility for our lives. We require that all-knowing “parent” to guide us through adult life because we detest the idea of letting life itself teach and guide. We must have it all mapped out in advance, by God, Jesus or Oprah.



Give ’em that soft smiley voice, and the hordes of Betas are sure to fall in line.


In ancient times religious sects and cults converted millions via the power of the word. Essentially, nothing has changed in this regard, except that the words of deceivers are now broadcast to a global audience. The media is chock full of life-coaches and prosperity gurus selling us the techniques of auto-hypnotism. It’s a gargantuan business, going great guns from time immemorial. We rarely realize that statements like “believe in yourself,” “you are unique,” “you can change the world.” and so on, are meaningless when spoken by others. Better to do as Oscar Wilde suggested and free yourself from all influence.



In 1938, film producer and radio host, Orson Welles, scared the bejesus out of the whole of America by announcing that Martians had just landed en force. In H. G. Wells fashion, his fictional announcement, heard by millions on radio, unleashed a panic like no other in history. In other words, the mere sound of his voice convinced an entire nation that the apocalypse was upon them. No doubt politicians the world over beamed orgasmically over the effects of Welles’ incendiary broadcast.


Talismanic statements from iconic soothsayers, such as Think and Grow Rich, are ultimately meaningless. One can think about something as much as one wants, and yet remain exactly the same forever. Alternatively, one can act and become wealthy, that’s for sure. But to embrace an idea as irrational as Think and Grow Rich is a sign of one’s infantile mentality. There is no value in positive thinking. Life is all about positive action, since it is by action that we truly engage with our supreme teacher and provider – Reality.



I think I want a Mustang more than anything. I know I want it bad. Like any and all ads, I desire it when I see it. I think about having it all day long. I think about it as hard as I can, but still the driveway sits empty. Reality doesn’t respond to no amount of positive thinking. The desired object exists by way of action, and my getting hold of it occurs the same way.


Thinking has its place, but more often than not it insulates us from reality. Only by action do we grow to mastery. Only through trial and error do we assess our competence and weaknesses. Only by acting do we test our will and intention. Only by action do we enter into direct relationship with the world, to learn nature’s lessons and matriculate as a human being rather than as some unfulfilled passive greedy gullible feminized urbanite.


Only by acting do we break the spells binding the mind. Only by acting do we ground ourselves in intelligence and wisdom. By experiment and work we free ourselves from internal restrictions and the limits imposed by others on our minds and bodies. This is because there is no success in any real sense – no wealth or feeling of achievement – until we free ourselves from the will of others.


As long as we heed their “advice” and follow in another’s footsteps, we’ll continue impoverishing our own spirits. Our motto must be “I do not wish to do as you do, I wish to do as I do.” I adopt the principle of ancient mystics – to Know Thyself – realizing that this entails an active and direct encounter with life itself, not with someone else’s egoistic interpretation of it. It demands what Barfield called Direct Participation with reality.


I don’t allow myself to be misdirected by the silken words of TV personalities, or presume the word-shakers know a damn thing about me. I realize that they feed upon my sense of lack and low self-esteem, using words to awaken images of inadequacy in me.


As they work on my feelings of existential impoverishment, I fall more and more under their spell. I even pay hard-earned cash for more of what they have to say, believing they speak directly to my soul. Soon I’m polluted by the image of me generated by their sly words. I become possessed by the idea that I am nothing, have nothing, and haven’t a chance of getting my life together without their wise tuition. I turn myself into Pavlov’s laboratory mutt, salivating at the first stimulant offered by the latest trending Dr. Svengali.



The so-called Law of Attraction isn’t a law at all. It’s simply a repackaged idea first promulgated by an ancient sinister Gnostic cult still active today. The New Thought community isn’t in any sense “new.” This secretive elitist Gnostic network uses the media and high-profile soothsayers to pollute and undermine the Western psyche. They grow in strength the more we cry out – Take away my suffering…give me success and prosperity to fill my emptiness. (Here for more…)


A healthy human child naturally leans out toward the world and reality. No one need teach this to another. It’s perfectly innate. In psychology it’s known as orientation, and in philosophy as intentionality. The latter term does not mean that we do it consciously. In fact, hardly anything we do of a day is conscious. We use a minuscule amount of our brain, and our awareness is likewise extremely limited. It’s meant to be that way, although this is not the place to explain why.


In any case, intentionality is an inherent basal attribute of consciousness. In other words, action doesn’t follow thought. Thought follows action, although we’ve entrained ourselves to forget this truism. Embodied man is a being of and in action. We think on what we do, what has been done and what remains to be done. We naturally lean toward a world that certainly exists, and have a deep affinity with reality. As we lean out toward the world, it too leans toward us, the connective tissue being empathy.


If this empathic rapport is curtailed or shut down, it’s generally because of inept parenting and the interference of humans. In fact, empathy is reduced by social interaction. Once empathy is impeded we feel a void within our being. We feel impoverished and emotionally disenchanted. Stupidly, we attempt to fill the abscess with the influence and directives of others, in the hope that doing so will reawaken empathy again. It’s a fool’s errand.



Addicted to the Word of God…the word that is, not God.


The abscess can’t be filled by besting the Joneses, or becoming addicted to the influence and counsel of people who may themselves be looking to you for the same panacea. It isn’t filled by ideas or ideas about ideas. It takes a lot more to do the trick.


Intentionality and empathy are non-conscious processes by which we commune with the universe as a whole. Although society is the mirror of the ego, nature is the mirror of the Self. Therefore, looking into the mirror of another lost soul isn’t going to produce the reflection we need of Self. Thinking “positively” also has only a superficial effect. It’s something which supports one’s persona in a social context, nothing more.


Only by returning to the Natural Order (Umwelt) can we restore our Imperial Self to its true proportions. Every time we fail to do so – every time we turn to the human world – we delay the Magnum Opus, further enslaving ourselves to the will of others. The abscess within simply gets deeper and darker and our hold on sanity weakens continually.



In search of empathy


This is what the ancient Gnostic cults set out to achieve. And their descendants are still active today. Just because they don’t wear pointed hats and capes, doesn’t mean they’re not hard at it subverting the Western psyche.


Their chief weapon in this nefarious agenda is the media. Through highly-funded charlatans they seduce millions throughout the world, profiting from the average urbanite’s neurotic sense of impoverishment and impotency. Unable to “attract” the real thing, you hungrily bite down on the words of holier-than-thou pop-messiahs thrown up by the media – the Rhonda Byrnes, Eckhart Tolles, and other sinister experts in mass hypnosis, selling an inflated chimera of yourself via their serpentine sophistry.


In the end, after years of hearkening to the Wormtongues, we’re left with no self at all, just a grinning passive-aggressive obscenity thinking itself guided by God to that perfect parking space at the mall.

. . .


Michael Tsarion (2023)

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