George RR Martin, author of the fantasy series of books, A SONG OF ICE & FIRE – more commonly known as the Game of Thrones books – has several characters say: Words are wind.
By that, he means that words have no substance, they are inconsequential, they are ephemeral. They mean nothing. Only actions have substance, not words.
I agree with Mr. Martin – I think words are wind too – but I don't agree with his subtext.
I think words have enormous substance. They are not just puffs of air, they can be tornadoes. They can be hellfire storms. They can wreak havoc. They can destroy lives. Words have incredible power.
But they can also heal, inspire, praise, glorify. They can rebuild shattered lives. They can lift a person, a nation, to greatness. Martin Luther King's famous speech will be remembered for all time. Churchill and JFK too.
How powerful are the words: I love you.
With that power comes responsibility. We are each responsible for what we say, just as we're responsible for what we do.
Personally, I go one further and say we're responsible for what we think, too, because I believe that thought is as powerful as words and deed.
If this blog is different, it's because I require people to identify themselves. Same with my forum. No user-names. No hiding. Let's see who you are. If you have something to say, be accountable for your words.
That's what I do.
Here's three words for you to consider –
I am God.
Words are powerful, and as we all know, actions speak louder than words. I have no issue with the statement I am God. I do have trouble with those who think they are the almighty. Those individuals who think they are better than everyone else, and who have no trouble using eloquent words to make sure we are aware of their superiority. I believe God (or Budda, Allah, Higher Power etc.) is in each of us. Satan, too. At the end of our lives it remains to be seen as to which entity won the struggle for our soul. I will pray that at the end of my natural life, I will be able to say the good guy (or gal) won. Julie
I am no theologian, of course, but I do know that books have been written on these three words – I am God.
Here’s something else to consider: we’ve all heard the phrases – Those words stung… Or, Those words hit me hard… Or, What you said knocked me over.
This notion that words can have a physical impact.
Interesting, isn’t it!
I have experienced the sensation (not reality, thank heavens) of having my heart stopped by words. I don’t pretend to speak for anyone other than myself. At least forme, it is more than a notion that words can have physical impact. Enjoy your Swans game! Julie
I don’t know how to comment on this blog other than to say “I am not”. I do however agree with you Bill that words are extremely powerful. If you don’t think so, try having someone forget something very cutting and personal that was said against them. Even if they forgive, they normally never forget. I don’t. But I don’t empower them in my life today.
I am back to sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Actually, if I am honest, they can.
Hi Steve, your words yesterday, or earlier today, in my defence were very powerful, and I thank you, sincerely. Yes, words can be hurtful.
Interesting,y, I chose not to read any of the comments following the dwarf post. I didn’t want to be influenced by what people said because I thought that some might react quickly and hotly, and perhaps regret their words later with more thought. So I never read them.
But with the words “I am God,” don’t take those words literally – think about what it means to have God within you, in whatever way you consider God…
We need to remember the power of “sticks and stones” and how much they can hurt or build up a person especially when we speak to children. Words can scar. Every day when I was a child, my mother told me,”You are a millstone around my neck.” It took years of therapy and prayer, and ultimately the healing Love of God, for me to recover from that. Don’t ever kid yourself that words are wind, or inconsequential. They can be the most precious thing ever given, as when you hear, “I love you”. Or they can break your heart .Its so important to think before you speak!
Can’t take em back…….. 😦
Isn’t there an REI for words?
Sorry, no returns. You speak them, you got them………… 😦
But they don’t fit anymore!
Did they ever?????
You can tell I had a good night’s sleep!
And no Sangria I presume. 🙂
I am thinking “synchronicity” at the moment, having just left you a PM on some aspects of context and the difficulty of apprehending same. But, since fools rush in, I’ll bite.
I have actually heard this said. ‘Bout 40 years ago, form a guy strapped into a gurney in the ER who had gotten himself into some really bad ‘acid’. (LSD in other words.) So, context there was really pretty clear.
Still, an experienced reader of a lot of theological works in my younger days, I do not remember any baseline translation where the Deity actually proclaimed this except for maybe Psalm 46 (or 42, can’t remember really) and there are reasons to believe that going from Aramaic to Hebrew, to Greek, to Latin (or some sequence thereof) that translation was not exact. Also, we’re talking about times when the Ark (of the Covenant) was still around and they had also recent experience with a column of fire and other manifestations which is a heckuva lotta context, IMHO.
Aside from that, I really could not go anywhere with such an assertion on this earthly plane.
It would be really nice to hear that for myself some time (way in the future though) as long as it is not too embarrassing an introduction.
Now to post this and see if any Pharisees showed up while I was writing…
Yes, I got your PM and replied – it came in while I was writing this blog on words, so yes, we are in sync!
I’m sure you’d be able to give us your thoughts on I AM GOD… ?
I’m looking forward too to seeing what JabbaPapa has to say…
And of course, Sister Clare!
When you noted that maybe I could give my thoughts on “I am God.” I was pretty sure that I already had. True, it was a travel-size sponge of thought that I wrung dry for you but that’s about as big a reservoir of thought that I possess on the topic. And that is largely because I recognize the potency of words.
It needs to be noted that language and thought are totally inter-twined. Some would argue that thought is hardly possible without a language. Don’t know if I can agree but do consider that a lack of precision in one is mirrored in the other. The same can be said for emotional shading – “hot” language will lead to the same state of mind, soothing language can calm the mind to the point of numbness.
Look at any of the great dictators (pick your own favorite) – what did they do to crowds and how did they do it? Words largely. You can see it playing out now in politics. (Why are ‘sound bites’ such essential tools?)
How are sales made, contracts won and court cases decided? More on the force of words than anything else. Used by expert manipulators of the Bernays school, they are tiny infiltrators driven into one’s mental defenses, in a logical order, to increase one’s susceptibility to suggestion.
For me, words need to be chosen with painstaking exactitude both coming and going. Being relatively insensitive to non-verbal communication cues forces me into the confines of literalness. (One might rightfully assess that conversation is not a highly developed skill here.)
So, on a personal level, where else is there to go with “I am God.”? It is a simple declaration of existential identity; note the period at the end. Short of hearing it off this mortal plane from the Deity himself; my reaction would be a polite “We’ll see!” followed by heightened awareness of my surroundings and a timely exit of the area in the event of manifesting snakes, levitating chain saws, etc.
Strangely, this is only a bit different than my standard reaction to someone who feels the need to open a conversation by telling me that they are Christian. To wit: “So, in another ten to fifteen minutes of watching and listening, I would not have figured that out for myself?”
Sorry for the underwhelming commentary but there it is.
It’s an over-whelming commentary.
Words are my business. I respect words. I love words. I am in awe of people who use words well.
Dickens Shakespeare Lennon/McCartney
As for I am God – isn’t God in every living cell?
Well, gosh – thanks!
By the way, your love of words does show and I agree with your genius list but perhaps it is a bit Anglo-centric? I think that the short list should at least have Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen included. (Okay, Dylan’s American and maybe you have to exclude him on principle but Cohen is Canadian.)
As for “Is God in every living cell?”
A question fraught with difficulties. I’ll answer with a bit of questioning reverse logic.
Is a building the architect who designed it?
Is a carpenter the house he built?
More perversely, if you stand in a garage, are you a car?
Didn’t think so – the natural hierarchy between “Creator” and “Created” is pretty straightforward.
Now, before someone comes back with how I might be missing the parable of Christ as the vine and we as the branches that is a different kettle of fish entirely.
Inasmuch as “I am God.” is an existential statement, and the nature of “God” is to be limitless and eternal then it follows than “once God, always God” which is probably the point “Yaweh” (I am Who am) was making in self-identification.
As a “branch”, there exists no such certainty of continuation – conditionality comes into play. We may choose to prune ourselves from the Vine by ceasing to be an effective branch. But that is our choice and most easily accomplished by acting against the two greatest commandments:
1) Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, whole soul, whole mind, and whole strength.
2) Love your neighbor as yourself.
Okay, now back to spreadsheets… and I really hope you are not texting while driving, Bill. (That would be almost as big a mistake as missing Cohen on your list!)
Just waiting for my wife before I head out, so no texting while I’m driving!
It never occurred to me that my list was Anglo-centric, but you’re right.
Dylan, yes. Cohen, yes. I’d also add Cormac McCarthy. Blood Meridian was extraordinary. As was The Border Trilogy. And Pearl S Buck. And Toni Morrison. Beloved was incredible. And Don Delilo is up there too…
And let’s not forget Graham Greene. (But he’s a Brit again!)
Sorry – I forgot the writers I grew up with –
Ray Bradbury John Steinbeck Earnest Hemingway
All Americans All extraordinary writers.
Beautifully said, Brendan
Okay, your earlier omissions are now forgiven, Bill!
You have no idea how much your three little words have brightened my whole dang week.
By the way, I will be off the blog soon for the rest of the day. I have some meetings here in Sydney, then I’m driving back to Mudgee – so I’ll be off air for some time.
Also, my beloved Swans have a big game tonight – first game of the finals, up against Hawthorne. The thing about following a team, irrespective of whether they win or lose, you still love ’em.
Ill respond with a scriptural paraphrase.’ God is all things, and in all things. Without God, I am nothing’
What this does NOT mean is that I am “a” nothing because I am not God. It means: because everything I am comes from God, a free and loving gift from the Creator of everything I am, then without God as my source (and He is without doubt in my faith, my Source)then I am nothing. I would not exist. I am because I am a manifestation of Gods Love. So are you.
Thank you Sister!
I am now believing my mantra “God in me as Me” is the scripture you paraphrase.
” God is all things, and in all things. Without God, I am nothing.”
Thank you for clarifying this for me.
I get that. I am That I seek. The theme got me to thinking about a horoscope I read, which I normally don’t do, it said, the problem was I see things differently, which I think I do. And then my cousin said she felt she was different because she regularly picks up other people’s trash off the highway, which is not something a Southern (USA) gal would ever do. So I’m wondering if everyone thinks they’re different.
But you are………. 🙂
As are you!
I hope so. 🙂
Loks like try outs for The Village People
Lave that one for Jill!
Boy you guys are really on a role!! Now I’m going to get a good nights sleep, me and the Village People!!
More words, written with love, respect and from one viewpoint only….
I am God – this statement is different things to different people. We all think, speak, act and write from our experience, beliefs, spirituality or religious tradition. We see the world through our eyes and hear the world through our ears only.
I am currently reading Gerard Hughes text “God of Surprises”. In this he begins by saying that the text is written so that you [ the reader] may become what God had in mind for you before time began, a unique image of God, sharing in the very life of God.” St Catherine of Genoa states “My God is me, nor do I recognise any other except my God, Godself.” God is a different being for each person. God is full of surprises. God speaks. Do we hear these words? God is!
We are all on a pilgrimage of life, from conception to death. Christians are called to shed the centred self, the ME, with our wants, fears and needs, to take on a new self – Godself, who is the person who gives, who tries to live in peace with oneself and with others, who is open to change and growth, who is with God, the heart of the Universe. Those who are not Christians are also called to live a peaceful, relational life in harmony with their world.
Ken Rolheiser, famous theologian, in his text “Where Heaven Meets Earth”, aims to bring the reader to an understanding of the presence of God in our daily lives. His brother, Ronald, also writes eloquently and extensively on matters of Christian spirituality. His online reflections provide food for the spiritual journey.
The expression “I am God” sits comfortably with me, knowing that God lives in me. “Through Him I live, move and have my being.” [Acts 17: 28] I am not God. I spend my life trying to know God, seek God in others, hear God, see God in my world and share the knowledge that God loves each of us unconditionally.” That’s what I am called to do.
A late compline this evening gives me the opportunity to thank God for you, Anne, and for the gift of you joining the PGS blog family.I am moved by the way you have so beautifully expressed the Presence of the participant Divine in us all.
Thankyou so much Sister. Words can never adequately express an understanding of the Divine but it is only through words and deeds that we can attempt to do so. The presence of the Divine is difficult, the notion of God is a challenge for many, the love of God is ever present in so many ways. Sometimes my theological studies are a great source of comfort and knowledge – sometimes they present way too many questions!!
Please keep the PGS Family in your prayers, as I do each day.
Love and blessings from Oz.
Notwithstanding my comment downstairs, there is certainly a more mystical aspect to all of this, that you touch upon with delicacy.
As for some comments by others relative to Scripture, God says “I AM” — not “I am God“.
Hi Bill – I haven’t actually read any of Patrick Rothfuss’s fantasy novels, but I love what he wrote about words in ” The Name of the Wind”
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names
As names have power, words have power
Words can light fires in the minds of men
Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts”
Jodie Picoult also said
“Words are like eggs thrown from a great height
Once dropped, you can’t ignore the mess they cause”
Bill, your words ( Blogs) and the replies you receive have lit fires in the minds of many people. Thank you
Hi Fran –
Both great quotes. Thank you!
I’ve read Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind. A terrific book. He’s a very fine write.
Haven’t read Picoult. I know she’s very popular.
Thanks too for the kind words re the blog.
It’s wonderful that it’s attracted some incredible people who make it a rich experience each day.
GRRM is a wonderful writer, and I’ve been reading his Song of Ice and Fire since about a year after the publication of its first volume.
BUT — he is a fairly radical atheist, and his understanding of spirituality is therefore very flawed.
The notion that words are wind, and the converse notion that only writing (or other material works) is solid is a transient, historical product of the printing press, and it has little to do with the nature of our humanity.
Many atheists and non-Christians (and also some Christians, even) describe Christianity as a “Religion of the Book” ; but this is not true. Christianity, Catholic Christianity especially, is an oral Religion, and the teachings of its spirituality are very essentially provided by word of mouth.
However, as for your provocative statement “I am God“, it is intrinsically flawed for reasons FAR too numerous to detail here.
Not even a Buddhist would make such a claim ; Buddhism claiming essentially that there is only one God and one Godhead, that every individual divine soul is a mirror or a portion of, albeit destined to return to and reform from this singular Godhead.
If “I” am God, then I do not exist. Which would be utterly incompatible with the totality of Western philosophy. Such a position would constitute a total abandonment of the very foundations of our Western culture, and would likely lead directly to some form or other of neurosis, cultural or otherwise.
The soul exists ; ergo the soul cannot be God ; but the soul must necessarily be distinct from God ; and each soul must necessarily be distinct from each other soul.
The most basic notions of Western individuality are intrinsically incoherent with the phrase “I am God“.
I have to read our comments several times to truly understand them!
And even then sometimes you lose me!
I’ve read all the SONG OF ICE AND FIRE books. Read them back yo back. Haven’t seen the HBO TV show. I have such vivid imagery from Martin’s writing. I can’t imagine how a TV show could match what’s in my mind.
Remember I posted “consider the words I am God.”
My wife said this was as incendiary as the dwarf post… From what you say here you might agree.
The Winds of Winter *should* be out next year — and as for the HBO series, well, GRRM is one of the producers as well as one of the writers (so far he’s been writing one episode per season), in fact he just won a Hugo for his writing on a season 2 episode, and well, “Game of Thrones” is a *surprisingly* good adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Yes I’m aware he’s been involved in the production and writing.
When I first learnt that Peter Jackson was going to do The Lord of the Rings books, I didn’t think that would end up any good either. But Jackson nailed it – (pity about The Hobbit) – and I’ve heard that the HBO series is good too.
As soon as I’ve got a definite release date for the 6th book, I am going to re-read books 1-5 again, to reacquaint myself with the series.
Other than LOTR, I think it’s the best fantasy writing of all time. George RR Martin is a truly amazing writer and storyteller.
Yes, the Hobbit has been a disappointment to some extent, but I think I can see the overall 6-film plan that Peter Jackson is aiming for — my guess is that there will be a progressive darkening of tone to lead into Fellowship of the Ring.
It’s among the best fantasy writing ever, though one shouldn’t forget Homer and the authors of the mediaeval prose Lancelot — in MANY ways, A Song of Ice and Fire is very similar to the old French prose romances.
Before The Hobbit came out, I reread all the books, from The Hobbit through all The Lord of the Rings books. I wanted to remind myself of the work, from the start.
It’s extraordinary to think that Tolkien wrote the LOTR books while he was still working as a professor at Oxford, and during World War 2.
I hope you’re right about the progression of The Hobbit series. Evidently Jackson and Fran Walsh have discovered a whole lot of notes and unpublished works that have given them the material to string The Hobbit put into three movies.
I’m pleased he ended up doing it, and not Guillermo del Toro.
They have access to the unpublished third edition of The Hobbit, which Tolkien greatly expanded before abandoning it — well, there’s a very limited edition of it from one of the more scholarly publishers in the UK (that I’ve never seen). Seemingly, Tolkien sought to integrate the book more seamlessly with The Lord of the Rings when he started that particular project.
They’re also using stuff from the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings, though they do not have the rights to the material published in the numerous posthumous works done by Christopher Tolkien.
Yep – and when each movie produces combined theatrical and ancillary revenue streams in excess of $1.5bn – yes, $1.5bn per movie – then there’s a very real incentive for everyone involved to keep making them!
Bill, something’s been troubling me since yesterday ; I hope this won’t either offend or be too late ; but I’m starting to think that “The Way, My Way” isn’t a very good title for the book.
It’s odd, because it ought to be one, given that these are four very short words, but there’s something about it that feels to smooth to me, not enough attention-grabbing.
Also though, it sounds like a kind of combination of a rip-off title from that film and song number one in some hedonist’s funeral ceremony ; both of which might be a bit too cliché.
I cannot for the life of me think of any other title, not having read it, but surely it’s possible to come up with better than this !!! (and yes, good titles are among the hardest things to write)