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We The Enigma

This post is about we, not the you & me, we (as far as I'm aware we've not met lol) and not urine, that's a different spelling. No, this is post is about the use and abuse of the word 'WE' meaning 'us', a group.
Not the most exciting word you might think and to be fair I mostly agree, we is just a word of inclusion. Right? A friendly 'group hug', cuddly sort of word?
Well yes it is but it can also be exclusive (bullying) and divisive.

The problem with the word "WE" is directly because of its very ubiquitousness - it's so incredibly useful, it substitutes for all sorts of collectives.

We can mean "I" - The 'royal' we (inclusive of a monarch's subjects by extension)
We can mean "you" - When the person saying it has no intention of helping!
We can mean "but not you" - A bullying group can snidely say to a deliberately excluded individual - "We're going to the cinema."
We can mean a pair - Partnership - Business / Marital / Sexual etc.
We can mean a small group - Activists / Book club / Community / Council / Lodge / Secret Society / Petitioners - "We, the undersigned..."
We can mean a 'loose' group - People form transient We's - when at a convention, a lecture, an evening class or jury duty etc.
We can mean a large group - Political Party / Trade Union / Sports or Music fans etc.
We can mean a massive group - Religion / Language / Country - "We, the people..."
We can mean a racial group - White / Black / Blue (I'm just being inclusive of 'Smurfs' and 'Avatar's Na'vi Clan')

The problem is, 'WE' is contextual and every contextual word depends heavily on the ability of the listener to correctly recognise the context in which you are using your 'we'.

As an example... 
If someone said to you... "We are the master species on this planet." you might easily assume these are the words of a bigot. However, on hearing the intended, unspoken meaning of that someone's message... "We (the human race) are the master species on this planet." You might change your mind. Even, maybe, agree.

Alternatively, consider this...
A politician on a stage may say "WE" and though he knows he's only referring to his 'party's top boys committee' too which he belongs, every audience member will likely consider themselves included in the "WE" of his statement, incorrectly assuming (or just wishing) that the politician is including them in that 'WE' group. (It's what politician's bank on!)

Perhaps when we hear someone say "WE", we should consider that we have had to assume meaning based on our experiences.
Perhaps when we hear someone say "WE", we should remember and beware of our own fears. Whether they be core fears, socially or religiously indoctrinated fears, or just pet fears, no matter whence they come, our own fears will likely have a bearing on the meaning of the "WE's" that we hear.

And none of us are immune, we are all forced to draw on past experience to comprehend contextually. Society would grind to a halt without contextual shortcuts. Twitter exists only because of our naturally evolved contextual brevity.

So finally... (hey, less of the relieved sighs!)
If what we assume, when we hear "WE", tells us more about our individual self than we'd immediately think, then perhaps, it may be wise to ask for clarification before jumping to misjudgement and ripping the speaker's head off!

This is one of the Too many questions


Please leave a comment - Anything will do
The best communications are often,


If you enjoy what you read here
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21 days in May

Please be aware this blog may be considered Illegal almost anywhere!

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