My latest Epsilon Theory note is about the seemingly obviously nonsensical idea that “words can be violence.”
[I]n case you’re wondering, no, words are not equivalent to physical violence. That is nonsense.
What is not nonsense is the notion that if you can deftly manipulate the symbols people use to assign and create meaning in their lives, you can manipulate their thoughts and behavior. We have a name for this outside academia and the culture wars.
It’s called advertising.