During the yesteryears of our civilization, words were such powerful tools that only the elites had command of them. But with time, more and more people became literate and human ideas evolved as a result. Words spread religious beliefs and ideologies as well as cultural and intellectual wealth around the world. Ideas on how to understand the world, who we are, and how we should go about living, changed the course of human history with all its upheavals, revolutions and wars. Words were means of dictating human behaviour and implementing social changes.
Today, words no longer possess such power. Unlike in the past, when ideas were spread to bring about action, most of us are complacent in being stuck in the first stage of merely spreading the word. Today, words are no longer a means to and end but an end in itself. Spreading words have become the end goal for many of us.
Today, people would rather talk, complain, argue, discuss, debate, read, type, and tweet than take any real action. They believe that by simply voicing their opinion on something they don’t have control over, they are someone who matters. They believe that by typing few messages on the social media for the world to see, they are making a difference. They believe that by debating issues in a ‘civil’ manner, they’re somehow effectively resolving them. They foolishly think to themselves, ‘only if everyone else could see the world as I do, the world would change for the better.’ These people need to deceive themselves time and time again to feel secure about how little power they actually possess. They need to talk so that they don’t have to take action.
Even worse than these babblers are the passive and consumerist audience who absorb these words as a source of entertainment. They may feel involved and believe that they’re intellectually enriching themselves, but most will not do anything other than to spread the word onto others.
What we are witnessing in our society today is a state of collective analysis paralysis. Too much thinking, reading, writing, discussing, and watching is stopping people from doing anything of significance. We are essentially drowning from too much information. And because the people have so little power to make changes, they are overcompensating by exercising the only right and ability they are allowed to have: free speech.
In a way, free speech is the most effective form of social control. Why expend resources to oppress people by limiting their ability to voice their opinion? It only sows more discontentment and encourages further dissent. Why not let the people exercise as much free speech as they want so that they can argue amongst one another? Let the rabble protest with their signs and insult one another on the internet for having differing opinions. Let them have their meaningless, ‘civilized’ discussions and let them condemn anyone else who takes action as barbaric ‘extremist.’ Let them exercise their rights to words that have no power or substance. Because in the end, after they had let their steams out, after they had their time on the stage to feel like they made a difference, they will return to their ordinary lives—maintaining the status quo.
Words that arouse action are powerful, but words aroused by action are weak.
We as humans need to talk less and do more. We must recognize that words without ideas are empty, and ideas that don’t bring about change are meaningless. We must sift through the flow of information and concentrate solely on what is useful in helping us take action. All spoken and written words must exist for the singular purpose of serving action, and it must be recognized as such.
The world does not need more intellectuals who may win debates but not elections. The world does not need more advocates who discuss topics on what needs to be done and how. The world does not need people who voice their opinions and argue about who is right or wrong. Instead, the world needs those who are determined to change the status quo. The world needs iconoclasts and cataclysts. The world needs revolutionary and reactionary agitators. The world needs rebels and fighters who will no longer stand back and do nothing.
It does not take much thoughts and ideas to take action. If anything, more thoughts and ideas will only clog your mind and inhibit your ability to assert yourself. Remember that the end goal of all words is to do. Words must be followed by action.