Words have power, I think we would all agree. They are a technology, that we either "speak" or "spell." Holy people of all religions and spiritual systems understand this, and it's why silence practices are so important. Some choose to remain silent for many years. But, these days, being silent is a luxury. I know that, in my life, I can't remain silent for very long. I have attempted silence for years, again and again, to find that it's impossible. I can't even leave my house without having to converse. Not only is it extremely rude to my family to disengage from casual speech, but, it's totally counterproductive. Same thing with outside the home, and, maybe even moreso. Unless a person is deaf or hard of hearing, or wearing recognizable buddhist or yogic robes, or considered "sick enough" either physically or mentally to be labeled as sick and in recovery, getting away with silence is just not really doable. I have found that even when going to great lengths to keep to myself, people want to talk. For me to refuse to speak back is a great offense, and can even start fights. Sometimes I wonder, "wow, deaf people probably get attacked for real sometimes by people who think they're ignoring them... that really sucks." Sometimes I find myself having to speak harsh words or tones to end conversations that I really, really, really don't want to engage in, but, to ignore the other person would cause infinitely more problems.
Silence is dangerous. Even taking "too long to respond" can spur people to attack, in my experience. I have found that silence should only be practiced when alone. But, then, what's the point?
I have no practical experience of what it was like "back in the day" but I get the sense that it was much easier to remain silent.
It bothers me that things are this way, these days. I do feel as though I lose power, sometimes tremendous amounts, by being compelled to talk. Yet, we are social creatures. We become sick if we don't associate, and talk, casually, babble if you will. Talking without thinking often leads to great insight, bonding, magic, and song. Must we be so serious and think hard and long about every single word that we speak?
Sometimes, when I am "out and about" just doing regular things, I can feel that feeling in my throat that lets me know that my words are "especially spelly" and I have to be really careful. Sometimes this happens at the drive-through fast food place or whatever, and I think, oh jeez, every syllable is shaking the world right now, and here I am at Burger King, because I'm living in 2020. Maybe it's because they built a mall over the sacred ground, or, maybe it's because the natural flow of time has been disrupted by the "clock-work," separating everyone from the natural rhythms. During those moments, my words have a lot of power, and, ordering a shake and fries or whatever feels like I'm calling on gods and demons, and I worry, but, I have to do it. I mean, there's no way around it. I'm not separate from the need to eat. I'm just like everyone else, in this animal body. I talk dirty and repeat what I hear like a monkey, until I hear what comes out and then make an assessment to edit my speech: it's how I learned! So, I do my best to keep my tone flat, and my emotions flatter. Those surges, I do my best to control, but, I know that it's not entirely mine to control. Well, that is my worldview, anyway.
If I take it really seriously, sometimes, being compelled to speak activates the ancestral memories of being tortured to be forced to talk. When, obviously, it's just a neighbor trying to be friendly, in their own way.
What I see is that "contemporary life" has so many of us around, which exponentially increases the amount of communicative exchange that happens.
Where am I going with this? Well, here are some prompts:
Do you consider every syllable you speak, a spell? If you do, how do you approach casual talk? Is it easy for you to get by in your regular activities? Do you attempt unusual levels of silence? How do you deal with being "forced" to speak? Do you find that it's easy or difficult for you to separate "intentional wordcasting" from more casual, day to day speech? Is it an internal energy, a tone, the actual words being used? All of the above? Or, do you not struggle with this at all?
I suppose a good way to think about this, for me, is that, sometimes I speak with gravity, and sometimes, I tell comedy. A well-timed casual or serious word can lift an entire group. But, a badly timed casual or serious word can hurt many.
No thesis here, just opening the floor to ideas.