Remembered watching a movie in which a scene had a character saying something along the lines of: no one can make you inferior unless you allow them to. So in a sense, how you interpret what others say to you is your own reaction towards it. You could choose to react negatively or positively towards it.
Having learnt a little about discourse analysis, however, demonstrates that words can be manipulated in a way that provokes a certain reaction by the listener. That means the words uttered by a speaker is designed not to just to reflect the speaker’s ideology and mentality, but also to invoke the emotions of a listener. In this train of thought, a listener’s reaction to a speaker’s words is in most cases “dictated” by the way the speaker uses words.
Perhaps it’s a bit of both. You could on one hand choose to ignore or not react to a sneering jibe, therefore giving the impression that you are not emotionally responding. On the other hand, that boiling anger you felt from the jibe is not something that you “choose” to feel; the speaker through his scathing choice of words (it’s a jibe, after all) in some sense meant to invoke an emotional response from you as the listener.
So where do the power of words belong? To the user of the medium or the interpreter of the medium?
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