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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Front Porch of Language

Today Alison, who mentioned zeal the other day (see blog) warned me sharply about using the word “diet” for the weight losing process I am in.  When I used the term (such as mentioning the “diet I am on” or “my weight loss program’”) she winced and said “Do not say ‘diet’ for a diet [or program] is only temporary.  Say something like ‘my new lifestyle.’”  How subtly we can set ourselves up for failure by the language we use and the assumptions that underlie it.  Certainly if I view eating more wisely as something temporary and just for a special time, the assumption is that I will break out with my old eating habits the first chance I get.  Thank you Alison for this important insight and I promise to keep it in mind and take it to heart.  Alison is in the “quit smoking” class my wife attends (I sit in as a guest).  She has another approach to addiction I think important.  She starkly pictures the conditions that can await smokers.  Partly this is from experience with the deteriorating health and eventual deaths of members of her own family.  It is extremely important not to paint or haze over with mental disguises and dishonesty the direction our present actions are inexorably taking us.  I will always be grateful to Dr. Brady for warning me that if I did not lose weight he would be visiting me on my back in the hospital.  Language can help us face the truth or assist us in avoiding it.  Language is the porch we sit on and from it view reality or, with much less integrity, a wonderland of wishful thinking, arrogant conceits, and fond misinformation.

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