In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God! This is found in the Good Book, the Bible; it is the opening verse of the 51 verses of John Chapter 1. John Chapter 1 contains part of the story of Jesus Christ as told by John the Baptist. John introduces Jesus and openly declares he, John, is not the Messiah; but Jesus is.
I have for a long time, throughout my long eventful life, long before there was internet and social media, marvelled at how profound is the affirmation that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was actually God! I have found nothing said since I first read this verse, more than 45 years ago, that best captures the power of the Word.
It is about the power of the Word as also a source of evil, great evil, and a source of death, that worries me, especially in these days of instant mass communication across borders and continents. Today the Word, just at a press of a button on a phone or computer, or a voice prompt, can automatically be accessible everywhere in the world by anyone with access to the internet, instantly.
Words have meaning, they have power, they are power: power to plant love and creation including human life, and power to sow hatred and death, including by triggering a World War. Words heal. Words hurt. Words nurture life. Words teach. Words cheat. Words stunt life. Words bring forth life; words kill.
The Word has meaning. It carries information. It contains knowledge. It conceals secrets. It contains feelings. The Word, literally, is a particle of our thoughts – it is thought itself. The Word we utter reveals our thoughts at that particular time. It also bares our emotions to those who come across it.
In the Word, we humans have invented the means to communicate and record our lives for posterity. The Word, therefore, also contains everything about all our past; it is our history. The Word is powerful, extremely powerful!
It is not by accident that an important act before any domination of a people can be complete is the erasure of the Word of the dominated and its replacement by the Word of the dominators. This way, the entire history and possible futures of the dominated are destroyed thereby creating a new being of the dominated: as subordinate and inferior to the dominator. This is in fact what slavery, colonialism, capitalism, imperialism through White Supremacism has done to Africa and Africans. The White Word has replaced the African Word, and in the process the White person has won the struggle for supremacy over the African.
The White Word, in our case in Zambia, the English Word, is superior to all our native languages. Our collective history, knowledge and cultures of the more than 72 African human cultural societies contained in our African Word has been consigned to the dustbin of history, and, after 100 years one will have to excavate very deeply to unearth any of our African Word – this is a story for another day.
Those who therefore disrespect and ignore the power of the Word do so at their own peril! We in Zambia, for example, until we “decolonise” the Word, we shall forever remain poor – even if materially our lives improve, our cultural poverty – intellectual, academic, artistic, literature, music, painting, crafts, complexity of our food menus, dress codes, manners and so on will all forever be a carbon copy of our colonisers and whoever for the moment controls our economy.
The Word and its power, and who controls the Word, have become a war zone of humongous proportions. None other than the then President of the most powerful, armed, ruthless state of the world – Donald Trump – was most rudely shown what was more powerful than the nuclear arsenal he commanded by those who control the global transmission and distribution of the word: Twitter. Unless Elon Musk buys Twitter, Trump may remain banned from Twitter to his death.
The application of mathematics and other sciences to the technologies for the transmission of the Word mean that today every human being, including newly born babies, can instantly communicate with the whole world of 8 billion human beings, at once. Imagine the power of the Word in the mind of just one individual – for planting love and life or hatred and death, in the whole world; this is how supremely important John 1:1 has become today, this is why others thought that Donald Trump, then the most power man on Earth, needed to be taught that in fact those who control the transmission of the Word are more powerful than nuclear weapons or command of the power to manufacture US dollars.
I do not agree that governments or social media platform owners must ban the Word, no matter what it contains. It is impossible to ban the Word. It can be denied access to a medium of transmission, but it will always find a way to be transmitted. Donald Trump, for example, has since created his own media platform called Truth Social.
The Word that is hate and death must be allowed to meet with the Word that is love and life: the Word that is hate and death shrivels and dies, no matter the damage it leaves in its wake. Love and life will always outlive hate and death. The Word that is lies and distortions must collide with the Word that is truth and fact: the Word that is lies and distortions cowers, evaporates, and disappears. Truth lives on. The Word rich with ignorance, emotions and anger must collide with the Word pregnant with knowledge, wisdom and patience. The ignorant, emotional and angry Word will eventually give way to the Word that is knowledge, wisdom and patience.
It is the friction between these two – love/hate, truth/lies, knowledge/ignorance, peace/war, life/death and so on – which simultaneously produce both the Word and the energy which power the Word. The Word itself is these two sides at once, inside the Word! The Word is like a coin: it has two sides!
The world of truth, knowledge, wisdom and therefore freedom, happiness, love and life belong to those who seek and utter consistently the Word that is truth, knowledge, wisdom, love and life!
Dear young fellow, when you are on the internet and are on social media, and you want to post something, stop, think, try and understand first what exactly you want to achieve with your post! You are about to share your Word with the whole world (remember, anything posted on social media cannot actually be deleted, is capable of being viewed by others and not just the person(s) you think will see your post!); this is who, at that particular moment you are, as a Word. Are you about to post a Word that is pregnant with truth, knowledge, patience, wisdom, love and life or is your Word a lie, ignorance, impatience, foolish, hate and death?
You are what YOU post – everything, including the insults and hurtful things you post! What YOU post is the Word YOU have manufactured, nobody else. It is who YOU are. Even if when you are making the posts you are surrounded by other people, the thought which is uttered as a Word forms in YOUR mind and no one else. Now, imagine how clever you are, if most of the time all you post are lies, impatience, insults, angry things, all with the intention to hurt, demonise, demoralise or cancel out whoever you think you are posting to or about. You may succeed as so often happens, to hurt them, if they are foolish enough to take your Word as theirs! If they are smart, you will simply make them stronger at fighting the darkness in your Word.
Think first, always, and be a transmitter of the Word that was there in the beginning, because that Word was with God, and it is God, it is love and life. Otherwise, your Word is evil, it is pregnant with lies, hate, and it is death!
Choose carefully what Word you are on social media, for it is who YOU are!
(Comments welcome to:firstname.lastname@example.org)