Overlooking the beautiful mountain-hugged shores of the coastal city of Dahab, leaning into the relaxing and reflective time of the sunset, I stretched my Yoga Mat for the first use with the intention of diving into the sides of me that had been least explored, a business guy with one of these indifferent stoic faces, I told my new friends in Dahab that no one is going to believe them if they say Abdo was here doing Yoga with us.
Bugged by Car horns, aggressive expressions, as she is stuck in a Cairo traffic in the famous Mohandessin’s Ahmed Abdel Aziz Street, Dr. Claudia Gross, a German Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Conflict reflected on the number of signs, commands, and behaviors “evoking the pictures of what you do not want“, as she described it.
DO NOT BE LATE … DO NOT … DO NOT … DO NOT
I just completed two books that gave me the push to try out my first Yoga experience, The Power of Now for Eckhard Tolle and Letting Go for David R. Hawkins MD. Ph.D. There is something in common with the Yoga experience and the 2 books, soft-spoken language.
I had been a close follower of the speakGreen movement, initiated by Dr. Claudia, promoting the idea of choosing our words to build and create a better world. A good example from her TEDx talk about the power of words comes from an experiment where two groups of people at the same age and physical ability were asked to read a paragraph, one of which was neutral and the other had an elderly stereotype, it was found out that as a result, the group who read the paragraph with an elderly stereotype in average have taken more time walking to the elevator, as of just being exposed to the language.
Dr. Claudia has recently gathered all the work she has been doing under the speakGreen movement into a 50,000 words book labeled “speakGreen: words create worlds“, the book project attracted over 150 pre-orders on Publishizer platform.
I had the chance to interview Dr. Claudia for the book project and my yoga experience and observation on the use of language brought me back to the interview note. Though, trying to internalize this language shift as a business person had been a bit challenging, I could count at least two reasons for that
“Softness does not get a vote.”
Uttered the narrator in a deep masculine voice, the morning after my first Yoga experience, as I start my day with Stoic Affirmation tracks, that reminds the listener of the facts of life and how strong and steadfast you have to voluntarily face the demands of life, stand your ground, get over hard times and not only accept everything that happens to you but also learn to love your destiny no matter what it looks like.
This strong, intense, masculine language has become part of my identity not only to interface with the world when necessary but to endure the internal journey needed to go through life productively. It is quite unsettling to imagine having to eliminate the language of stoicism necessary for the voluntary pursuit and endurance of natural life challenges. A trend that’s observable in societies where the call has gone into the elimination of masculine language and sometimes the explicit effeminization of men.
The use of language for manipulation
I was daunted by the memories where the call for “softness” has been used for deception and manipulation. The biggest healing journey I had to pursue was about the use of “co-creation” and “collaboration” for explicit assassination and violation of rights. Imagine pursuing an objective in a society based on a certain dynamic and expectations, then being convinced to shift this dynamic and “drop your guard”, only to discover that the call for softness was done to expose you to circumstances necessary to advance certain interests that wouldn’t have happened otherwise without “dropping your guard”.
The experience of this form of linguistic manipulation heightens the sensitivity of the use of language in society and make it a responsibility of communicators to be precise, accurate, and straightforward. An introduction of a “new” or “adjusted” language to explain the same terms should be done in the light, discussed, and agreed upon by parties in society, otherwise, the language itself becomes an instrument of manipulation in the hands of those who devise it.
I must agree that in the 21st century, maintaining a war-inspired business language is a lot “outdated” and there could be no harm in reviewing some of the words we use in a business context within our organizations, the speakGreen movement, and the upcoming book are a positive trigger in that direction of initiating a dialogue around the world we want to live in and deriving from that the words we want to be using.