Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Danger of Swearing

I've often thought how strange, and perhaps silly, it is that certain words are considered "bad" while they have synonyms that are socially acceptable. For instance once I couldn't help laughing when I heard someone shout to a man that his mother was a female dog and he wanted to mate with him.

But bad words have a purpose that has been damaged by the frequent use of swearing.

It used to be when people felt angry they would let out that feeling by using vocabulary that made them feel they had broken some rules. Perhaps it warned others that they might express their anger in stronger ways if the situation that angered them continued to escalate.

But when people use that kind of language all the time it no longer has any shock value. Now when they become angry they are likely to 'break a rule' by becoming physically violent.

And physical violence is becoming more and more prevalent in our society.

Sometimes it even leads to murders that might not have happened if the perpetrators hadn't already broken the rules about violence without feeling those were extreme. And if they had felt they were breaking rules by swearing then minor violence might have felt extreme enough to release greater anger.

Of course there have always been killings and other violent acts among human beings, but maybe if swearing were not considered normal conversation by so many people there might be a lot less physical violence.

What do you think of this idea?


Cheryl said...

You make an interesting connection, Jan. I fear disrespect for life in general and overall selfishness leads to violence. We're taught by society that if it feels good, do it; as long as you're not hurting anyone, then it's okay. But that's not necessarily true. We do harm to ourselves when we become so self-involved, and we might not be able to see that since no one else is getting hurt.

While I definitely think violent people are more prone to swearing than those who aren't violent, both behaviors come from a lack of self-control.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks, Cheryl. I don't think swearing is the only, or even the primary, cause of violence in our society, but I do think it may be one contributing factor.