Monday, February 16, 2009

Outlawing the use of pronouns

When someone has accepted the role of the victim, it doesn't take long to hear it in their language.

"They should fix that" is a common refrain.

The use of the pronoun in that sentence is an easy escape for a person. They're able to point out the problem, the inconsistencies with the way the system works now, but they don't go so far is to name the individual(s) that are responsible for changing it. Simply put, it puts you in the role of observer. You're a bystander.

What happens if we outlaw the use of pronouns? You can't say "they" or "he" or "we." You have to say John or Sally or Nevin. All of a sudden, we'd be challenging ourselves to actually name the system and who is going to fix it. My guess is that the magic would happen when we start realizing it's unfair to single out John as the fixer. After all, he didn't create the problem, he's just the accountant/marketer/maintenance worker that's been assigned a small piece of the system.

When we outlaw the use of pronouns, we start realizing what role we, individually, have in our plight. That's powerful and it can lead to real change.

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