Here’s something I just wrote in my journal, lightly edited for blog purposes. I’m posting it because I thought it was an interesting idea that I could share easily (not too complicated or personal), and sometimes I like to see how people work, so I thought I would do a bit to return the favor. Also it would raise my post count for this week. 🙂
Working on an ebook about parenting yesterday got me thinking again about ways to respond to people, in this case sanctimonious people like potentially the hypothetical parent in the book. Later I was thinking about group discussions, especially among people who strongly disagree. I started thinking of them as a puzzle, possibly some kind of graph problem. I was possibly thinking of them along the lines of Tall’s knowledge structures, since I’ve been trying to wrap my head around his theory of math thinking.
The common thread between these two trains of thought was that I was looking for the right words and attitudes to convey to the other people that would make the situation work, bring it to the goal I wanted. It brought up a thought that’s crossed my mind before, that words are magic. This time I’m expanding it to all communication, since I’m seeing the relevance of nonverbal messages. But for brevity I’ll let words stand for all of it, or I’ll use the word messages.
Words affect other people. They can even affect the speaker. If I’m unclear on something or unsure of it, articulating it can make me clearer or more sure. Or it makes it clearer to me how plausible I find the ideas I’m articulating. Maybe I feel conflicted about saying the words, and so I find I don’t believe them at all. Words can also lead me into the emotional state surrounding the words I’m saying, like when you tell a story and you get wrapped up in it.
So whenever you speak, or even whenever you’re visible to someone else, you can think of all your verbal and nonverbal messages as magic spells you’re casting on the other people. They may be strong or weak, but they’re all having some effect.
Now, these message spells can be counteracted by messages from other people. You can have message battles and picture them like wizard battles in Harry Potter. Maybe someone tries to control you with their imperiousness and you counteract it with your own imperiousness. Now that would be fun to watch. 😉
It occurs to me that the idea of message spells and battles would be a good way to design scenes in a story. Who’s trying to influence who how, and how is that influence working or being fought against?