10 Terrible Words that Shouldn’t Exist in Any Language

Digital text-illustration: 10 Terrible WordsOne person who hates is a Weapon of Mass Destruction. One who cares and shares? Perhaps the only antidote.

As I recently said to my friend Maryam: poverty—both of concrete, material resources like food and shelter, and of intellectual and ephemeral resources (education, spiritual enrichment, the arts, community engagement, etc)—seems to me to be perpetrated and perpetuated more by selfishness than by an actual shortage of any of those resources. The rich and powerful always want more riches and power, and what they do have makes them able to afford and acquire more and to keep their feet firmly on the backs of the have-nots. Plenty is never enough. The resulting imbalance is as old as history, and rotten as ever. Only those who will speak up and resist entrenched inequities and injustices will have any hope of making change.Photo montage: Wolverine & Badger

The badger and the wolverine have a reputation for being among the most tenaciously savage brutes of all the mammals. Yeah, Honey Badger even has his own meme to show for it. But let’s be honest: no beast of earth, air, or sea has a capacity for vile, rapacious cruelty rivaling that of the human animal. Even creatures of the natural enmity of predator and prey compete, fight, kill, and are sated. They have little apparent ideation of hatred and war to match people’s. A wolverine or badger will fight to defend, or to kill for food, but unlike the human, doesn’t seem inclined to attack indiscriminately outside of its primal needs for safety, shelter, and food; when the skirmish is done as efficiently as possible and the need assuaged, the sharpest of tooth and reddest of claw among them doesn’t do an end-zone dance to celebrate its pleasure in winning but will usually depart the scene or go to rest for the next time of need. The remaining food and shelter and other resources stay in place for whatever creature comes next, hunter or hunted, cousin or not.

Can we humans not learn from such a thing? I’m pretty sure that if we destroy each other and ourselves in our constant self-righteous, self-congratulatory belief that we deserve everything we can get our hands on, Honey Badger won’t be the only creature that doesn’t care.

14 thoughts on “10 Terrible Words that Shouldn’t Exist in Any Language

  1. Well said. I fear that we are a doomed species; too many of us, those ten nasty words certainly on the increase.

  2. Well-spoken, and filled with a reasonable amount of sorrowful questioning. We are, too often, incredibly discouraged by the pattern of acquisition by those that already have more than enough, be they corporations, political parties, religious entities, sports franchises, or individual citizens (and others that accumulate wealth in copious bundles of power). I recognize this is a very broad subject, and I don’t wish to infer that we should inhibit those that reach for their definition of success, but it does seem remarkably unbalanced when we continue to have conditions that attack the human spirit, when our basic resources are plentiful. I especially appreciate that you included exposure to the arts and other intellectual and ephemeral resources as necessary to nourish the human spirit. We can do so much better.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve questioned why this world hasn’t simply vanished, smote to blackened dust, as punishment for our continued perpetuation of such egregious sins. I try with all my might to believe that every act of kindness, even in the face of such imbalance, will slowly open our eyes. We can do so much better.

    • We not only can, but must, do better if we are to have hope of seeing the world go forward. I choose to believe it possible rather than be a nihilist, and am given some reason for the belief by the existence and kindness of good people like you.

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