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Words, the double-edged sword

Posted May. 09, 2018 08:02,   

Updated May. 09, 2018 08:02

한국어

A terrestrial TV broadcasted an experiment documentary called “The Power of Words.” The documentary filled two glass bottles with fresh boiled rice and labeled it “thank you” and “it’s frustrating,” respectively. The participants of the experiment were given the two bottles and were ordered to say words of compliment to rice that was labeled “thank you,” and words of negativity to rice that was labeled “it’s frustrating!”

Four weeks later, when the bottles were recovered, a conspicuous difference was apparent at one sight. The rice with the “thank you” label was developing white molds with the smell of yeast whereas the rice with “it’s frustrating!” label was rotting covered in black mold. The participants were astonished as rice does not even have ears. By applying this experiment, some schools are using growth and development experiment of sweet potatoes that receive compliment and those that do not in order to help students realize the power of positive language.

When considering the fact that a single word can be accumulated and bring changes to inanimate objects or plants, the amount of impact a word can have on people is unfathomable. In 2016, instructors at a daycare center in Incheon would call two-year-olds “jjikkeuraegi” (scum or residue in Korean). Four instructors were prosecuted for allegation on abusing children psychologically by using remarks such as “hurry up and eat, you little scums” but the Supreme Court recently finalized the original judgment that pronounced not guilty against the concerned instructors. It has been judged that infants cannot understand the meaning of words and as it is impossible to confirm‎ whether such comments were harmful to the psychological health of infants, it is not considered as abuse.

Even if such remarks are innocent legally, can it be so morally or ethically? Resorting to the violence of words than inculcating positive words to children who have just started to sprout can be described as sowing toxic seeds to the field of the heart. Words have the power to change the world and at the same time possess enormous destructive power. A society that is careless and insensitive to instructors swinging the sharp knife of words, the phenomenon where blunt remarks are flooding on the internet. These are the things that are accumulated and blow fire to degeneration of words.