I may soon lose my power of expression. The very thing that I work hard to improve through my blog(s).
A few words I know are becoming extinct – getting closer to where some of their comrades lie in peace. But it is not words I fear for. Expression itself is under threat. We are dealing with our over-sensitiveness in an otherwise desensitised world, dealing with the need to be politically correct in an otherwise wrong world. Words aren’t, in that sense, dying a natural death. They are rotting through misuse. “Acceptable words” are in a ruling minority – the clan of the hypernyms. We don’t need a whole lot of words because we are willing to understand a whole less than we did before.
We are creating shortcuts and templatised responses for most expressions – if something falls outside this predefined set, then it’s easier to say that we don’t understand or, better still, take offence. Few are able to say what they mean; fewer know the meaning of what they say.
In a world that is freer than it was a few hundred years ago, we are now enslaved by the fear of exercising that very freedom. The web and the Internet have progressed to the next version – this is Expression 2.0.
The rules of expression are changing, even if they didn’t exist in the first place.