CHAPTER 5 Rehumanisation: words define our future

I hear a man’s words, and I see into his soul.

The words we use shape the values we have. They shape the values and belief systems of the societies we live in. It’s also true that the people around us (correctly or otherwise) judge where we fit into their world based on our words. Think of a job interview, for example. It’s nothing more than a truncated language test used to determine how capable or smart a candidate is for a particular function.

This could possibly be the worst way to assess a potential employee’s suitability for any role other than a direct sales or public speaking post. Yet we use this method as the default because we define almost everything we do and believe through what we tell ourselves and each other. Language permeates our entire commercial ecosystem and is also a significant arbiter of brand success.

Aiming for mindless consumers

The language used in corporate environments tells us much about the true value systems and culture of an organisation. When Facebook says it wants a more open and connected society, it’s really talking about its desire to peek into your underwear drawer because that may just be a profitable move. Turns out it is — for now.

We hear a lot of double-barrelled language so that the organisations in question can’t be accused of lying or misleading. They like, and even love, words that leave things open to interpretation. There is, however, some language that’s been used in corporate ...

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