- The Buddha
The first essential characteristic of language is that it can be used to signify and identify existents, both concrete and abstract, and to manipulate and operate on these conceptions to integrate them into new insights and knowledge. In addition, a second essential characteristic of language is that it can communicate these identifications and integrated concepts to others. Without words there is no identification. Without identification there is no logic or consciousness. Without logic or consciousness there is no reason and hence all concepts, including the concept of evasion, are null. Without words, we are reduced to a world "beyond good and evil," a world only of "observable behaviors," which cannot even be identified! In short, we are reduced to B.F. Skinner's animal world of stimuli and responses. Knowledge is value only because there is reason. There is only reason because we have language and we use it to identify, integrate, and communicate. Words are weapons of destruction, but they are also tools of production and trade. The morality of speech is dependent upon how the words are used.
Actions DO speak louder than words, but words are not negligible. Integrity is the alignment of words and actions. I find it fascinating how the meaning of one's definite actions, and the commitment they may or may not express, can have such a remarkable fluidity when one refuses to identify their actions with words.
"Thinking is man's only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one's consciousness, the refusal to think — not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment — on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict 'It is.' Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper. By refusing to say 'It is,' you are refusing to say 'I am.' By suspending your judgment, you are negating your person. When a man declares: 'Who am I to know?' — he is declaring: 'Who am I to live?'"
— Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
I am sometimes forced to eat my words, but I will not withdraw an identification of which I am certain. Sapere aude.
I DO love her. I did not say that to manipulate her or to elicit reciprocity. Saying that I love her is only the expression of a feeling I know to be valid, whether she validates it or not! I will not blank out. I will not withdraw my identification of my own damned internal state just because she may be uncertain or afraid. I feel what I feel. I can identify why. It is true that my love may be tainted or corrupted by baggage and false premises, but it is what it is, to the best of my understanding and I will not blot it out and pretend to feel other than I do for anyone, not even her.