Hugh Bollinger
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Are words good?

From Robert Krulwich's blog on whether words help or hurt the world. Here's a description of the effect of words on the way we see the world, from Mark Doty, who wrote The Art of Description:
"I said that the more we can name what we're seeing, the more language we have for it, the less likely we are to destroy it. If you look at the field beside the road and you see merely the generic "meadow," you're less likely to care if it's bulldozed for a strip mall than if you know that those tall, flat-leaved spires are milkweed, upon which the monarchs have flowed two thousand miles to feed ... [or if you can give names to all the wild, stalky things poking the air ...] sailor's breeches and purslane, lamb's quarter, or the big umbrels of wild carrot feeding the small multitudes ... Isn't the world larger and more valuable, if you know what an umbrel is? Thus, in Eden, paradise became a more intricate place, artfully arrayed, and its loss was felt all the more sharply."
- RC
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