INFLUENCE OF LANGUAGE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HUMANITY(8)

• Influence of Language on democratic systems

Literacy plays a significant role in democratic systems, at least as conceived in the west, and is essential for the operations of a modern nation-state. It is hard to imagine a nation-state coming into being at all without a written constitutions and justice dispensing system. Written language also facilitates transfer of power over time by keeping traditions and precedents intact, and it facilitates institution-building, including the creation of a legal system. Written language makes the creation and maintenance of a collective history and belief-system easier (it is also the most important source of evidence for the historian), and allows the accumulation of a literature and the development of a canon. Literature plays a significant role in linguistic development and in the development of a sense of group identity in business organizations. Language of a state or of an economy is a requirement of economic prosperity in many cases. Sometimes it makes for a class marker (because an indication of education) and lead to social stratification, especially in societies where not everyone is literate, e.g. in societies in which skill-sets are easily transferred without recourse to written texts, particularly where such skill-sets are family-based. Language influences group dynamics, leadership and team work besides taking interpersonal communication to refinement and meaningful use.

• Influence of Language on wars

War-making of whatever intensity requires public commitment. That commitment comes when leadership develops a strong motivational rhetoric. War requires supreme sacrifice. In war, people willingly forfeit life itself for purposes defined by the community. Rhetoric sufficient to fight wars must provide motivation for troops who enter battle with their lives as the price. The motivations which drive armies stretch from a greater cause such as freedom and liberty all the way through a commitment to the “profession” of arms. All wars require rhetoric to motivate their soldiery. Rhetoric must motivate the national commitment that distorts the society to the war’s purpose. Particularly in total war, the community alters its day to day activities in fundamental ways. The rhetoric must justify such a commitment to the war effort for the whole community. War is a national act and requires a national motivation and coordination of the war effort. Language must structure the community to perform the day to day activities necessary to the war’s success. For example, leadership in time of war loses much of its democratic quality. Military chain of commands much more typically characterize the community with concentrations of power in particular people. That requires an altered language which diminishes criticism, open debate, and emphasizes the necessity of unquestioningly following leadership. We also need to develop a way of talking about the importance of sacrifice that allows us to bury the dead as heroes, thus motivating the sacrifice of these and others. In short, we can fight wars successfully or unsuccessfully depending on the motivational power which the discourse of leaders and the community provides to motivate the fight.

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