Figures of Speech

Wishing a “speedy recovery” can be outright brutal if one has a sense for language and linguistic trap doors. There is more than one way of hearing and understanding this phrase: As a genuine wish or rather a command or even a threat, to mention only 3 options? All three are actually quite complex statements and just the tip of the iceberg. If it is a wish, it is quite a helpless phrase because illnesses do not care about wishes and wishes do not cost a penny. If it is a command, one could easily hear “you’d better get well soon otherwise you lose your job” and “we consider you a wimp” or the instruction to “just pull your socks up and stop complaining”.
What else might one say? There are many options. But one has to bother and use one’s mind a bit. How about this one: Can I do something for you?
Sending “thoughts and prayers” is another one of those marvels of prefabricated statements of compassion. One hears it regularly when people have lost family members in a mass shooting or after devastating natural disasters, for example. Is there not ample proof that prayers do not help otherwise people would not die in the first place? The logic behind phrases like that boggles the mind, if one has one.
Nothing wrong with “thoughts and prayers” as long as one does not forget how to really help. Why not using our minds for thinking about the phrases we use. Prefabricated thoughts are as unhealthy as highly processed tin food.

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. judith edwards

    Prefabricated thoughts indeed..first hit home to.me profoundly in the 70s when i heard Thatcher talk of peace and goodwill to all.men.

    Reply
    • Christoph Hering

      50 years ago! And so little has changed. I guess, thinking properly has not become more attractive. Or put differently: No-thinking is still very attractive and will be so. What changes are words and figures of speech.

      Reply

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