Sticks and stones can break you bones but words could never...
"All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down." -Friedrich Nietzsche¹
Can I borrow your imagination?
Imagine the 10 closest people in your life.
I will wait.
Now imagine asking how many of them have broken a bone. Depending on you and your friends, the answers will vary. Now finally imagine having the ones who said yes, if any did, tell you how that happened and how it affected their life. While it would be interesting for you to actually do this, what I am getting at lies a bit deeper. I would take a step and say most of the people on earth who have broken a bone, upon it healing, were able to return to life with little side effects long term. A long athletic history myself, I have had enough military personnel and athlete's in my life to witness this first hand. I ultimately could be wrong, but kinesiology, anatomy and physiology at the university taught me alot about bones. Remarkably strong and responsive things, research shows them growing back stronger after a break as a testament to these qualities.
Two conclusions I draw from this.
1 = Events that break bones are usually excruciating and traumatic and will more than likely alter future behavior due to a new negative stimulus to avoid, at all cost.
2 = Due to the amazing properties of the human body, the vast majority of people who do break a bone will recover 110% physically.
The change will be more mental than physical. To all those who have had a bone break or will have a bone break due to a stick or a stone, be encouraged.
Can words never hurt you?
To answer this, let's briefly return on Nietzsche. "All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down"¹ Stanford encyclopedia provides one of the more thorough biographies on Nietzsche that I have read, and I have read many, many biographies². Two conclusions I draw from the life, work and impact of Nietzsche.
1 = He demonstrated this quote better than almost any other person in history. His ideas shook Europe violently during his life and the world ever since. Relentless in his criticisms of traditional morality, it is almost unimaginable to try and consider how far his impact has spread.
2 = His life appeared as affected by his work, if not more so than the culture. Despite his obvious brilliance his friendships, professional relationships and romantic ventures died slow and public deathes. To make matters worse his fragile health plagued him until 1889 when he collapses in Turin. He does not die immediately but he meets his end shortly thereafter. Dementia giving way to a full blown inability to speak.
Let's contrast him with someone almost as far on the other end of the spectrum as we can go.
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." -Mother Teresa¹. The archives of Nobel prize recipients provides one of the more meaningful biographies on Mother Teresa that I have read, and I have read many, many biographies³. Two conclusions I draw from the life, work and impact of Mother Teresa.
1= She demonstrated this quote better than almost any other person in history. Her love and actions shook Europe radically during her life and the world ever since. Relentless in her pursuit of the poorest of the poor, it is almost unimaginable to try and consider how far her impact has spread.
2 = Her life appeared as affected by her work, if not more so than the culture. Despite her underrated brilliance, she left a 18 year career teaching at a private school, her friendships, professional relationships and unconditional love for the lowest in society brought life to so many. To make matters better her actions spread faster than any plague.
"On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity”, whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.Today the order comprises Active and Contemplative branches of Sisters and Brothers in many countries. In 1963 both the Contemplative branch of the Sisters and the Active branch of the Brothers was founded. In 1979 the Contemplative branch of the Brothers was added, and in 1984 the Priest branch was established.The Society of Missionaries has spread all over the world, including the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries.
They provide effective help to the poorest of the poor in a number of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and they undertake relief work in the wake of natural catastrophes such as floods, epidemics, and famine, and for refugees. The order also has houses in North America, Europe and Australia, where they take care of the shut-ins, alcoholics, homeless, and AIDS sufferers.The Missionaries of Charity throughout the world are aided and assisted by Co-Workers who became an official International Association on March 29, 1969. By the 1990s there were over one million Co-Workers in more than 40 countries. Along with the Co-Workers, the lay Missionaries of Charity try to follow Mother Teresa’s spirit and charism in their families.
Mother Teresa’s work has been recognised and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971) and the Nehru Prize for her promotion of international peace and understanding (1972). She also received the Balzan Prize (1979) and the Templeton and Magsaysay awards."³
She has left a legacy that still has not died. Love giving way to a full blown revolution of action.
10 years after Nietzsche's death is when mother teresa was born.
1,300 kilometers from where he was born is where mother teresa was born⁴.
They were so close, yet so different in how they used words.
Can sticks and stones break bones = Yes
Can words never hurt you = No
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." -Mother Teresa¹
¹ = “26 Brilliant Quotes on the Super Power of Words.” Inc.com, Inc., 17 May 2018, www.inc.com/peter-economy/26-brilliant-quotes-on-the-super-power-of-words.html.
²= Anderson, R. Lanier. “Friedrich Nietzsche.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 17 Mar. 2017, plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/
³ = “The Nobel Peace Prize 1979.” NobelPrize.org, www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1979/teresa/biographical/.
⁴= “Distance from Germany to Macedonia.” Distance Between Cities, www.distancefromto.net/distance-from-germany-to-macedonia.