Inherent Responsibility: the written word

Inherent Responsibility: the written word
Posted on September 20, 2018 | Anthony Gerst | Written on September 20, 2018
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Letter type:
Op-Ed

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

I awoke in the middle of night with this forming in my mind and had to express my thoughts on the vitiality and philosophical imprint of the written word.

Thirty-five years and 307 letters to Iowa’s oldest newspaper has taught me a thing or two. My entrance at the turn of the century into the world wide web immensely propelled my op-ed experience throughout the United States and into foreign publications. (Hardcopy) These details are non-consequential for the reader of this piece. They were consequential for my growth as a human being of integrity and as a writer.

I am not deluded, while I as a colloquial scribbler of words have reached audiences across the globe, or at least been afforded platforms of presentation to them, I know the impact of those words are like a single grain of sand causing a nonexistent ripple in the tumultuous turmoil of our Southern Ocean. Still, in the collective global narrative of our times, they possess value.

Writers of all political persuasions, creeds, philosophies,

theologies and genres should work their craft based on inherent responsibility, a personal belief that somehow they are making the world a little better. That of course is not reality, some people write simply for money, others to sow discord, animosity and promote anarchy, none of which has ever been my intent.

Without language we have no civilization, from tribal to nation-states. Words matter, their selection and usage should not be flippant as they shape the flow of our collective premises and the foundations of our species’ daily experience. The written word, however, carries a much larger and longer imprint, wouldn’t you agree? Our collective knowledge built on across the threshold of time, gives us technology, medicine, architecture and more. Theological implications (whether viewed as good or bad) and their ramifications as the masses came to digest its content directly and not propagated to them by medicine men, shamans, priests and self-proclaimed prophets have had lasting implications. Along with countless cerebral conceptions shared via the written word and expanded on throughout history. Yes, words matter, and the written word even more so.

I have strived, and probably failed more often than succeeded, to challenge readers to think for themselves, my standard style of writing being somewhat contentious. It has been through this challenge of offense, I attempt to enrage readers to defend their own viewpoints, learning early on that changing another's viewpoint 180 degrees was a futile endeavor. My writings, I hope, would at least give readers a pause of reflection. Perhaps they would re-evaluate their positions and in doing so better understand their viewpoints. Not simply, blindly, support a cause or idea instilled in them by sociological conditioning. Better yet, they may bend their conceptions incorporating new knowledge and budge forward with a different understanding. Hence, no matter how small a difference, or which way from my vantage point they moved, I accomplished my goal. They paused, reflected, and used whatever depth of logic and reasoning they possessed to think for themselves. You see the contentious aspect of my writing quite clearly in that last sentence.

Obviously that style is not the most conducive to reach my objective. It is in my opinion however, where I shine as a colloquial scribbler of the written word. Through this voice primarily, this writer from the fly over lands of the United States accomplished a global reach, like that speck of sand landing on the ocean’s waves. They add to the sediment on the oceans floor, building ever slowly to a solid foundation on which to build.

Writers, despite genre, style and/or belief and subject matter, you have an inherent responsibility to make the world a better place. After all, words really do matter, and the written word. . . carries on.

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