Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Means to Meaning

Current Reading: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Psychology of Happiness, by Arlene Matthews Uhl

Inspirational Quote: "We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime." -- Edward Magorium, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (written by Zach Helm)

Words aren't worth much. They're about the only things you can still buy at a few cents a pop. And if you look at the straight economics, you'll see that supply greatly exceeds demand.

So why are there so many words? Why do we go through so much trouble to find the right ones when, really, the right ones are worth pretty much exactly the same as the wrong ones?

Because words are priceless, really. They are one of the most eloquent ways we connect to each other, they are the way we convey experience and knowledge and insight and all those things that raise us above the level of animals, that mark us as unique individuals.

The right word in the right place can change a mind. The right word at the right time can fortify a heart and turn despair into hope. We produce so many words in the belief that somewhere in all that verbiage is a collection of them with the power to affect another human being.

"Although the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. For words offer a means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth." -- V, from "V for Vendetta," written by Alan Moore.

I've never heard (sorry, I've only ever seen the movie) the point made more beautifully than that. Words have the ability to inspire, to open the mind to the vistas of the possible, to reorder our perspective and make us see new things in new ways.

So, in a celebration of that, I present a handful of movie clips that contain words I've found inspiring. If you've come across clips, passages or other collections of words that have stirred your blood, please leave them in the comments.

William Wallace's speech stirring the pride of his countrymen in Braveheart...

Henry V giving courage to his men before the battle of Agincourt. Although the filmed version is dramatic and moving, it is an edited version of the one that appears in the play.

I stumbled across this recently, from the movie Rocky Balboa. Unfortunately, I can't embed it, however, the link is worth following. "Life is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."

And, last for no particular reason, Red's words from the Shawshank Redemption...

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get busy livin'.

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