So much of what we think of as “reason” revolves around language. Reason requires thoughts, and thoughts require words, and the words we use immediately fall before the court of public opinion. Therefore, as we attempt to exercise reason, to be reasonable, we must use words, and words are the things that others immediately around us use our words to make decisions about whether we should be heard or not.
Is it conceivable that we can use a word or phrase that others use to judge us as unworthy? How reasonable is it to judge another for the words they use, or the pattern of the words they use? Sound ridiculous? Listen to this 4 minuted TED talk about being articulate in three tongues.
To be articulate is to be specific–to focus on one item as it connects to another item. So, to be articulate is not only to focus on the issue at hand, but to focus on the issue at hand as it relates to other issues. In other words, to be articulate is to be focused while being in relationship.
And this is reasonable in its best sense. Whenever we find ourselves snapping to a judgment of another human being or group of human beings, that snap judgment can become a signal to us to ask: what relationships in this situation am I missing that would help me understand? Does someone else’s “broken English” really indicate inferiority and stupidity, or does it indicate a much richer story that we fail to understand?
Whose genuine words bring us to reaction, today? (This is not a question about political words used in the media right now). Can the genuine words of another invite me into a deeper understanding of my relationship to a brother or a sister that I have yet to own as family?