Thursday, December 18, 2014

Leaders and the ‘Language of the Privileged Few’

It happens everywhere. It happens all the time. From Politicians all the way over to leaders of companies and organizations. It happens in meetings. It happens in conferences. Leaders are using ‘the language of the privileged few’.

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Definition:
The conscious use of language to sugarcoat, camouflage, conceal the real intention / significance / problem / motive. Insider wording purposely designed to confuse the listeners. Thus avoiding critical questions / discussions.
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Quite bluntly put using the language to ‘making the audience feel stupid’.
Language is a powerful tool. Language is power. The philosophers have always known this. With language alone people, their behavior, opinions, and their attitude can be decisively influenced. And that independent of concepts like truth or reality. We experience that on a daily basis. From political leaders making people believe they are heard and in control. And all the way down to those ‘marketers’ selling stuff no one needs or has ever asked for.
Language is used as a ‘means to an end’. Not just today. It was always the case. The ‘privileged few’ are those governing the people. They created for that purpose their ‘own special language’: the ‘language of the privileged few’. Using words and expressions people not belonging to this group can hardly understand. Keeping what they say always in ambiguity. And they love using euphemisms instead of clear and precise wording.
Over the centuries this ‘language of the privileged few’ proved to work pretty well. Hence, it became adopted by many other ‘leaders’. Especially nowadays. Governments, politicians, and other intellectuals alike are using this language all the time. They use it for their power struggles. And they use it to influence and manipulate the behavior / opinions / attitudes of people. With the sole purpose of gaining majorities behind their own goals. Thus legitimizing their doing. When done masterfully it works extremely well.
It’s to no surprise that company leaders, marketers, advertisers were quickly adopting this type of language too. Often to such effect that profound knowledge and understanding of the subject matter became ‘optional’. The pointless narrative “don’t confuse me with the facts”, presented by an eloquent talker, is perceived by the audience as it would be the message of the messiah himself. And the true ‘messiah’, for instance the scientist who has done the work, is, more often than not, not even heard or listened to. Why? Because she doesn’t use this type of language since there is no need for it. There is no need to hide, no need for ‘camouflage’, when one truly knows, understands, and has experienced the subject matter. There is no need for bells and whistles.
We are inundated in noise. We are flooded with ever more meaningless and brainless ‘information’. An immense sensory overload. Broadcasted in an ever increasing number of events, conferences, webinars, seminars, talk shows, online hangouts … you name it ... ‘one must attend’. And sure enough in all these conferences a felt sheer endless string of ‘keynotes’ is then dumped on the audience. There was a time when a keynote had a real meaning: the keynote was the central, fundamental fact, the anchor of the entire event. It set the tone for the subject matter to be presented and discussed in a conference.
And of course, that was during a time when a ‘conference’ was something meaningful, important and special. That’s no longer the case, regrettably. Something I would call the ‘homeopathication of conferences’ happened. The dilution of the concept of ‘conference’ to such a degree that no trace of the original substance is anywhere to be found. In other words the fertile ground for the ‘language of the privileged few’. The petri dish of cultivating bullshit. Just have a closer look what happened at the Lima Climate Change Conference.
‘Targeted Deception’ is the name of this game. Attentions is directed to a specific point. Purposeful making people believe that there is ‘where the magic happens’. Creating a reality distortion field. The rabbit in the box disappears. And the closer you look, the less you see. And then willful ignorance does its job.
Coda
There are an awful lot of books, blogs, guidelines, and discussions on leadership. About the leadership we need. The leadership of the 21st century. And we all agree that we need these new types of leaders. True leaders who can be trusted. Yet, that’s only one side of the same coin. The other side are those being led, are the people, is each one of you. As long as cluelessness, willful ignorance, lack of critical thinking, and naively believing whatever bullshit you are told prevails, nothing is going to change, ever.

As Joseph de Maistre said: “Every nation gets the Government it deserves.” And people are getting the leaders they deserve.

The choice is yours.

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