Monday, April 25, 2016

Clean language vs leading language

"Leading language" is almost a dirty word due to its connections with false memories and iatrogenic cases of Dissociative Identity Disorder. And indeed, people do really nasty things with leading language without ever realizing what they're doing. In response to that, the Clean Language people harp on the value of deliberately refraining from injecting one's own assumptions into things. They have a lot of very very good points. For example, if you hear "I feel strange" your automatic response should be "what kind of strange?". If instead, you say something like "do you have a headache?", then you're fucking up and giving people unnecessary headaches.

However, there is a very very good use for leading language too. It's an essential part of the effective use of language. "Leading language" basically means "any language that refers to one's own frame". In other words "language that assumes it matters what you think". If you're not a worthless fool, sometimes it does.