The thing about communitcation

Communication. A crucial engine of our civilization. An achievement that first enabled us to discuss more complex issues, describe the intangible and to express empathy. Communication is always accompanied by cooperation - or is it? Ever since the Third Reich we know how rhetoric can control, polarize, stir up hatred and manipulate people.

Language is a double-edged sword, because whether we like it or not, the kind of language we experience, shapes our thinking and acting. If we experience a lot of verbal aggression, our way of communicating will change accordingly. The brain reconnects completely by itself, we cannot control it. Only if we actively civilize the discourse, maintain our shield of reason and do not allow ourselves to be caught up in dull rhetoric, we are able to fight against a brutalization of our language and thus help to poke holes in the mental wall of hate-conditioned people. Not only politics, or “the press” bears responsibility for a language of reason, that is enhancing democracy. We too can have a positive impact on the discourse: for example, by objectively and politely opposing the hatred on Facebook (Americans, Italians, French, please google the hashtag #iamhere) and stay away from catchy mataphores and buzzwords that cleary have been structured to add emotional response and to dramatize an issue. Or bring the focus to a more positiv outlet of a discussion in real life, rather than staying in a defensive posture. This can help to scratch the wrathful worldview of an angy citizen, spitting out fake news in a mad fury and can retrain our brain on empathic communication - we are all part of the discourse and have to take responsibility.


This interview with Dr. Elisabeth Wehling about how language is affecting the political debate is quite interesting from a liguistic point of view.

This audio interview analyzes, how a “far-right party's nationalistic rhetoric framed the issues in Germany's election”: