If Writers Are Necessarily Right…
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 27 Apr 2015
Who Are the “Rongers”, So Necessarily Wrong?
This is a reflection on potential implications of particular vocabulary and pronunciation of English as the global medium of exchange. The purpose follows from the problem highlighted by Edward de Bono (I Am Right and Your are Wrong, 1992). Clearly this title characterizes much global debate on every kind of issue. It is fundamental to the continuing difficulty of achieving strategic consensus, if that is indeed to be understood as meaning that everyone should agree on action to be taken, as separately questioned (The Consensus Delusion: mysterious attractor undermining global civilization as currently imagined, 2011).
The focus of this reflection is on the curious phonetic relationship in English between “writer” and “right”. Is the exercise of “writing” surreptitiously assumed to be one which endeavours to make “right”? Can it be readily assumed to have this purpose, as in the sense of “setting things right” — “putting the world to rights”? For a writer, is the product of the endeavour necessarily “right” — however misleading this may then appear to others?
The obvious difficulty is that writers tend to consider that the writings of many others are inherently “wrong” — although assumed to be “right” by their authors, as writers. This offers the sense of different parties endeavouring to make “right” in ways which are interpreted by others as variously “wrong”. It can be readily assumed that every writer is considered to be inherently wrong by some others. Curiously this ambiguity is not reflected in English usage. Writers who are wrong from some perspective are still considered to be writers. They are not framed as “wrongers” or “rongers”, engaged in “making wrong” in some way. There is however widespread concern at the existence of wrongful writing, which might otherwise be expressed as wrongful “righting”.
Whilst such considerations may be dismissed as mere wordplay, there remains the question of how influential this wordplay is in undermining aspirations to a more fruitful approach to collective strategy. The point is made by the complex subtitling of the book by de Bono. He argues that the discourse logic of “I am right, You are wrong” needs to be superceded. One part of the book’s subtitle is: From Rock Logic to Water Logic. He sees this shift as being essential to the other portion of the subtitle: From This to the New Renaissance. The transition, or transcendence, features in his many arguments for new thinking (New Thinking for the New Millennium, 1999).
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 Apr 2015.
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