Recently I’ve been reminded, in quite a helpful way, that we need to guard our hearts and guard our speech. As many of you know, my personality lends itself quite well to hyperbole, humor, and strange words. This is not a bad thing, I hope, but I must also be careful to guard my tongue. Just because we can say something does not mean we should.
This in turn raises a very interesting problem of the ethics of language, not just here, but in all possible worlds (hence the HT to modality). How shall we speak, what is our context here, in all spheres of life, who is listening, how is meaning tranferred, where is objectivity, if at all, and how can the subject know the object at hand (a word in this case), if at all.
To answer these difficult questions we turn inward, focusing less on specific words and more on motives, intention, and ‘overflow of the heart.’ Although we may never be able to distill a logically perfect (much less ethically) language, a la wittgenstein, we should still aim to honor our objective loving creator in the words we say. To this end, forgive me if my speech has offended, and may God help us all to be ‘blameless and gentle’ in the ‘answers’ we give for the solid reason behind our wavering hope.