Why we like what we like

As technology keeps developing, we start drifting away from other individuals of flesh and blood close to us, trapping ourselves in prisons of solitude of our own doing (like social media…and oh! The irony!). Soon, we realize what we are desperately looking for… ; being connected to others in the first place, creating a weird dilemma … perhaps strangers but people…to real people who are geographically distanced hundreds of miles apart.

Our quest to find such connections has also affected the language we had been using for ages in unimaginable ways (though if I’m writing it here, it’s imaginable). 

The term “selfie” is a good word to demonstrate how much we progressed in terms of being connected to others; the society. 

The verb/slash preposition “like” nearly became more commonly used in its “noun” form in an overnight with the sudden impact of the social media like (here it’s a preposition) Facebook, Twitter and instagram. As we started liking (and here it’s a verb) weird looking babies’ pictures along with photos of cats, we started enjoying the impact of being liked by people whom we have never met in person. Then, the number of “likes” (and here it’s a plural noun) started to matter. Some people even paid (or still pay) money to purchase virtual followers or automatic likers. The quality of the content we like has also degraded from real works of art to masterpieces of rubbish that our stranger friends post daily. We like to be liked and this makes us proud somehow.

Here are the specifics of a social experiment I did a while ago: I posted the picture below on one of my social media accounts without a caption and guess how many “likes” I got?

38 likes within minutes…Wow! Maybe I do have some artistic qualities I’m not aware of.

P.S: Hit the like button for this article to honor the content and I’ll like one of your…err…stuff you posted online. 

From Bending the Truth to Total Honesty

In our infancy, we were taught the wickedness of lying and that we should always be honest towards other kids/people.

Not much time passes before we learn that a society without lies is an utopia. You may have realized this at an early stage (if you’re smart enough) when your parents lie to you to protect you (or at least this is how they defend themselves). That’s the initial shock.

The next stage is in adapting to the society is conceptualizing the degree of lying; believing that white lies are actually necessary to secure a spot amongst friends or society. 

Imagine your best friend asking how her new, but horrible dress (let’s say it’s yellow) looks… I can almost hear you saying “Nice”, especially avoiding stronger positive adjectives or exclamations like “wow!” which we consider to be a form of lying. The use of the word “nice” and rolling your eyes to avoid further eye contact really helps you to remain besties. 

But, it’s still lying, isn’t it? What is worse is that you’re lying to your best friend…

So, what can be done to ensure not pissing your mate while uttering words of truth.

The answer is simple: Bending the truth! Or not having to lie but still sharing your true opinion/emotions. But how?

Okay, the first lesson is free: “Bending the Truth 101″…

All you have to do is to mumble something barely audible like “hmmm”, following a statement somewhat true : “I think, it would suit you much better if it was in blue”

The key phrase here is “much better”… as “better” doesn’t always mean good. However, it can make the transition from “terrible” to a plain “bad”. The real message you convey would be “Your dress looks bad!”

Another tip is to select words wisely. Here’s another case I once read in an ELT Activity book:

A little girl goes to her mother and asks if she could have ice-cream before dinner. The mother says no. Then, the little girl goes to her father to ask him the same question. The father asks her if she had asked her mother. The girl nods her head in confirmation. The father says “Then, I suppose you can have one”. The girl runs happily towards the ice-cream stash.

Does the girl have a hidden agenda? Yes

Is she lying? No.

 

Here’s a personal story; I used to live only a couple of blocks from my previous work place (which was on a very busy street) and it usually took me 3 minutes to walk to work. Nobody knew where I lived so whenever I was late for a meeting I would tell my boss that there was heavy traffic (which was indeed true although it never affected me).

No lying, no hard feelings…

As I got older, I mastered truth bending and got along pretty well with friends. But, it wasn’t enough. I started dreaming of a world of total honesty like in the Ricky Gervais movie “The invention of Lying”. 

Then, I decided to give it a try; being totally honest with everyone. I lost many friends but the ones who remained… they became my true friends because when you’re totally honest, they become the same and you begin to share the most intimate secrets with each other…That’s priceless…The connection becomes concrete…

You should give it a try to see for yourself. 

P.S: I do think this is not one of my best work… but it is to the point… and I admit I’m expecting a few good words about this entry nevertheless. 

The mystifying power of letters, sounds and words

What’s your favorite letter in the alphabet? 

It may sound like a weird question but I believe everyone has that one favorite letter and people are drawn to it whenever they hear its unique sound that sets off a tingle in the soul.

Mine is the letter “o”. It has always been. I love  how it’s articulated more than its round shape and marvelous curve, so it’s not physical attraction obviously. It’s much deeper.

Check out some of my favorite words in English regardless of their meanings: Parasol, Pastoral, Aroma, Slope, Mountain, Mojo, Oyster, Coral and Loo. And have you ever heard a more beautiful preposition than “Over”? They all contain the letter I have always been in love with even though not every combination works out for me. The word “telephone” repels me instead. Perhaps, I have heard it countless times from other people, strangers around me and it doesn’t feel special, unique and not only mine anymore. 

I can never explain my attraction towards “o” but here’s a theory; all the words that have great significance for life, have it inside somewhere: Oxygen, Love, Soul, God, Women, People, Booze, Bacon…

And the names “Zoe”, “Monique” and “Olivia” have always drawn me to their owners.

Weird but my first girlfriend ever, who was not that attractive other than being a redhead, was the proud owner of the name “Rosemary”.

 

Before I finish… I want to mention how I find new music to my taste: I just Google (another sexy word) music, scroll down names of unheard bands and click on the band or the song name that attracts me. You’ll never believe how that will work out for you. If I hadn’t done that I would have never enjoyed “The Mojo Men”, “Voodoo Sex Stuff”, “Coeur de Pirate” and “Katja Vandl”.

The moral of this article? 

From now on, pay attention to the people you meet, the new words that you encounter and their names and see who or what you are attracted to, to find your own favorite letter or sound.