Speaking words of wisdom

In this post, the first in the new year, I’m talking about shortcuts to wisdom that are deceiving and limiting. There is a science (logic) examining and analysing errors in argumentation, and there is critical thinking dealing (also) with errors of real-life reasoning. One of them is exactly this: taking up “viral” slogans as a way out of trouble or dilemmas. Surrogates of own answers. What happens as a result is that such slogans, which were once spoken out in a meaningful context – perhaps – are taken at their face value and implanted in contexts that may be as similar to the original one as apples are to… pineAPPLES.

The damage is not the fact that in such a case one is wrong – being wrong is the prerogative of being human, after all. No, the damage is that such slogans prevent people from doing their own thinking, from going their own path towards a conclusion, a revelation, a discovery. Solutions need to be taken after a process of searching, not before. Ready-made solutions are not to replace the search itself. Slogans that advise us not to worry for example, if adopted anytime anywhere, mean that worrying comes to be seen as a bad thing in itself, but people who never worry are usually called assholes, in real life. The slogan don’t worry  was, I suspect, originally said when people were already worrying, so they had done their share of worrying and now was the time for them to leave it behind.

Read more and listen to the podcast here: http://simona-petrescu.name/speaking-words-wisdom

About Simona Petrescu

I was born in Bucharest, Romania and studied English literature and linguistics. I taught English as a Foreign Language for over 18 years and specialised in professional communication and in Cambridge English exams. In 2011 I won the British Council / Macmillan Elton Prize for Innovative Writing with a course material pack of English for Human Resources. I have been living in Germany since 2008, where I am now dedicating most of my time to writing, both Professional English course materials and fiction. My interests lie in the area of language, communication strategies, learning psychology, but also literature, music and travel.
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