Today is the 4th of July. It’s probably the most famous day on the world calendar for public declarations. Notably, in the US they celebrate it as Independence Day. This reflects the signing of the Declaration of Independence way back in 1776 where the 13 colonies said, ‘We don’t want to be part of the British Empire anymore, we’re forming our own nation’.
Whilst I’m an Australian, it’s a suitable symbolic connection for discussing declarations – the most powerful tool in the world.
You might be thinking… what is he talking about? Declarations? Most powerful tool? Let me explain…
A Brief Background
Without going into a long philosophical dissertation, here’s a couple of short assertions to set the scene.
- As human beings we live in a world of language.
- We use language to describe the world.
- And, we use language to create the world.
- There is a toolkit within our use of language called ‘Speech Acts‘.
- One part of that toolkit is declarations.
- A declaration is something we do in words that changes our reality.
Examples of Declarations
Here’s some familiar examples…
- A marriage celebrant says in their official capacity ‘I now pronounce you husband and wife’. This is not some idle comment. It means something legally and socially.
- In a court, a judge has a similar power… ‘I now sentence you to ten years in jail.’ And, if you’re the one being sentenced, then your future just changed significantly.
- At New Years, we often make resolutions about the year ahead… I’m going to get fit, earn lots of money and write a book. Whilst making a declaration is a powerful starting point, it does require some follow-up effort to make it a reality outside of your head.
We also make declarations about ourselves. For instance… I am fast, I am smart, I am happy.
The Most Powerful Tool
I believe Declarations are the most powerful tool in the world because they shape our experience. Like a judge we can sentence ourselves to ending one job and starting another, we can decide to get married, go on a trip overseas and even declare that we are ending our life.
Collectively, when we agree with, support and defend them, group declarations change the physical world. Think 1776, or if you’re French think July 14 1789 and the storming of the Bastille. Think countries declaring war against each other. Or if you’re a scientist think of Copernicus declaring that the earth rotated about the sun.
Today, I am writing about declarations because I am declaring that I am writing a new book.
This will be book number five for me. It will be a summary of sorts of many of the ideas covered in Book Rapper over the past five years.
And, rather than make this the world’s longest blog post, I’ll tell you more tomorrow…