Can “powerful words” truly create changes?

Question from the Internet:

“With words being so powerful, how come when people say they want to change the world or change a life, they do not get more specific and include “for the better” in their statements?”

I have a few problems with this statement.

First of all, the notion of “for the better” is very subjective and egocentric, as we all look at good/bad, desired/undesired from our own, inherently egocentric, subjective point of view. Also, it is a given that we always want to change things only to make the situation better for ourselves, moving towards greater pleasures, fulfillment while moving away from anything unpleasant.

Besides I am not sure about the power of words. It is true that we are usually obsessed — especially in the West — with great speeches of great people, we all have our favorite TED Talks downloaded, in Hollywood movies, there is always a great, inspiring speech before battles, action by the protagonist lifting the spirit.

But do those “powerful words” actually make any changes except providing a temporary psychological elation?

There is a saying, “actions speak louder than words”, and I think this is more true. Even leaders can lead much better through “silent” positive examples than to keep providing great speeches.

If we are “hellbent” on using “powerful words” to change, move things, then we would need to try finding words — together with positive, practical examples — that can touch people emotionally so much, that besides, clapping, liking, “emojiing” something it also moves them to actual actions, towards “better, good” actions.

And here we will need to start examining what “good, better” actually means, how it can be defined, interpreted in an objective, selfless manner so the “better, good” we want to achieve through the changes words can inspire are “better and good” for everybody.

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I am a Hungarian-born Orthopedic surgeon presently living in New Zealand, with a profound interest in how mutually integrated living systems work.

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Zsolt Hermann

I am a Hungarian-born Orthopedic surgeon presently living in New Zealand, with a profound interest in how mutually integrated living systems work.