Friday, November 1, 2019

12 Rules for Life #10 Be Precise In Your Speech (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018). One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

“To be precise in your speech does two things... it specifies your goal and it reduces uncertainty.”
(Jordan Peterson)

According to Peterson, there is an undivided connection between communication and reality. Language takes what’s unknown from chaos and gives it a name making it into a thing. Once that thing is addressed with a name then you can control it. A simple example would be the feeling of touch. Imagine that you see a pot in front of you for the first time. Without touching it you don’t know what’s wrong with it. Once you touch it you feel it’s too hot to hold it for too long. So, you give it a “name” – a hot pot. Now you can do something about it and use a pair of heatproof gloves to do your job.

On the other hand, the unnameable is terrifying, at least much more than the nameable. As an example, the movie The Ring didn’t describe and name the evil at all. Objectively speaking, in this movie the scary scenes are very few in number in comparison with other horror thrillers. It’s all about the unnameable. If you can’t name something then that makes it more terrifying to you. It also makes you feel weaker against it if you don’t actually know what it is. That’s why, according to Peterson, precise speech is important. I can bring things out of the realm of unspeakable. Words are not to be underestimated as they have creative power. Don’t create more marks and darkness by imprecise speech!


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