Thursday, March 26, 2009

Words That Move

It is March.

In the Year of our Lord 2000.

Three months after surviving the scare of Y2K, there is a five-hour bus ride headed to the other end of planet earth.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Ten minutes into the journey, a friend hands over a copy of a strange looking book with an intriguing title.

"Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads".

Digestion of Chapter One begins.

And the idea chewing continues to this day, thanks to a timeless principle shared in that first chapter, entitled "The Energy of Words".

Here is an excerpt:

You study pivotal people and events in history, searching for a common denominator. You hope to identify the recurrent elements of greatness; The keys to fantastic success. You search for the secret of miracles. After several hundred hours of reading, you reach an utterly inescapable conclusion:

Words are the most powerful force there has ever been.

Monumental events explode with energetic words, and great leaders are remembered for the things they say. While a grand idea may carry the seeds of change, it takes powerful words to launch the idea skyward; Words strong enough to carry the full weight of vision. Likewise, great ad campaigns begin with grand ideas and come alive with vivid words.

Words are electric, and should be chosen for the emotional voltage they carry. Weak and predictable words cause grand ideas to appear so dull that they fade into the darkness of oblivion. But powerful words in unusual combinations brightly illuminate the mind.

Yes, words are electric. If a sentence does not shock a little, it carries no emotional voltage. When the hearer is not jolted, you can be sure he is not moved. Remember the words of Napoleon; "Small plans do not inflame the hearts of men." Use words in your ads which are majestic; Words which have the power to inflame men’s hearts and illuminate their minds.

Words start wars and end them, create love and choke it, bring us to laughter and joy and tears. Words cause men and women to willingly risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Our world, as we know it, revolves on the power of words"

It is March yet again.

In the Year of our Lord, 2009.

Another opportunity to reflect on the degree in which emotional energy is unleashed in each and every form of communication. The method in which "words" are employed in conversations with friends and family; their impact on relationships and how the careful selection of "words" either opens or closes doors on a professional level.

See for yourself if the deliberate choice and arrangement of "words" creates some movement of energy within you.

(This video was submitted in a contest by 20-year old Jonathan Reed of Georgia State University as part of a contest called "U @ 50".)

More words that move.

Actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term.

Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, 'It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct......leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting 'Oh my God.'"

Urban legend has it that the student received an A+ for his choice of powerful words to convey his grandiose idea.

As you ponder this post over your morning cup of productivity, take a moment and think about the words you will use today. Consider how a person or a project could be elevated or deflated by your choice of words and what the consequences will be.

Words ensure your best-laid plans come to fruition.

Which mountains in your world require majestic words to move them?

Here is hoping you choose them wisely.

"This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder" HONORE de BALZAC, 1799 - 1850