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Theft of Words and the Nose
...plus a very personal story of victory
This story is about the theft of words. It is a little haphazard since my life is all over the place (and I am working on a story that feels like a tremendously big deal) but the theft of words is also important—so here are a few thoughts.
I’ll start with a striking example. That time in my life when I was attacked by a sex trafficker in China, there was a particular moment when the guy who was about to attack me turned to me, as we were walking, and said in English, “I love you.”
That moment was preceded by a sequence of events that were non-violent but increasingly weird. I thought I was getting help from a spekulyant with buying a train ticket, I felt no fear even as things were getting weirder and weirder, and then suddenly, he and I were in the middle of nowhere. A corn field, big butterflies, sun, blue sky. We were walking on a narrow path in the field. He said he was tied of walking and wanted to rest for a second, then he said that phrase, got me flat on the ground, and got his hands on my throat. I screamed. It was the loudest scream I had ever produced. Until that very moment of lying on the ground with his hands on my throat, I did not expect it.
Time stopped. In my head, I was thinking, wow, fuck, wow. How many times have I read about other people ending up in bad situations like this and thought, “OMG this is so awful.” And here I was, on the ground, facing the blue sky, in China, surrounded by tall corn and butterflies, with some stranger’s hands on my throat and his face close to mine, and most likely, this is how it all ends. Wow, crazy. Wow. Shit, but wow.
He let go of me after a few seconds, however, took all my possessions, and then beat me for several hours in front of two separate crowds of people. The people very strangely did nothing to help me, and some even seemed to take pleasure in the beating, they smirked. I saw an old woman who looked like she didn’t like it, and I appealed to her in my bad Chinese. “Mother, I said, help me!” To which she said, “Go with him, just go with him.”
After beating me all over and especially on my stomach with his feet, he threw me into a truck that was seemingly waiting for him, and sat across from me, staring at my body, as another guy was driving the car. The future didn’t feel bright.
And then the higher powers interfered sweetly, and I knew to jump out of the car at the right time. I wasn’t smart or heroic. I had no idea what I was doing but I jumped. I think we must have been outside of his mob zone because he just threw my passport at me, and they drove away. And then the people in the street helped me and took me to a police station. The police took me to a hotel where all foreigners stayed, I found a friend who babysat me for about a week, and then I left China and never came back.
Sometimes I think about what happened to that guy who tried to kidnap me. I knows that don’t want to ever, ever see him again. If he heals and sorts his soul out, in some other life perhaps, I would be willing to have a conversation and heal it forever, so that the pain of that time transforms into something good in a mysterious way. But for now, it’s an irrelevant thought and I am very happy to just never, ever see him again (and if got jailed at any point after this, it is fair and good for the world).
Talk is cheap
The reason I told this story is that guy’s completely illegitimate and disgusting use of the phase “I love you.” One is not supposed to say “I love you” to a another person and then proceed to brutal abuse. But he did just that. And nobody stopped him. And such theft of words happens—perhaps less dramatically, perhaps less visibly—all the time.
Talk is cheap. It is easy to open one’s mouth and lie—and even easier to lie behind the screen.
And when one’s mind is dark, one would say just what the target wants to hear. One would use every weakness, every bit of trauma, every bit of vanity, trust, or soul hunger to wrap the target’s mind in wool, to make them feel like they are “thinking” the thoughts that aren’t really their thoughts and that they strongly want to do the things that will ultimately lead to their demise. There is a technique for that.
On a light note, and in no relation to the nose in the title, here is a famous Soviet children’s song from a film about the Russian Pinocchio. The song is about how if one is greedy, boastful, or foolish, the thieves (represented by the cat and the fox characters in the video) effortlessly thrive.
Yes, talk is cheap. That, by the way, is one of the reasons why I look at people’s “vibe” a lot more attentively than at their “ideas.”
When words are stolen
What if the sincere people and the people with not-so-good intentions use the same words?
What if the people with not-so-good intentions eagerly say things like “I love you,” “it hurts,” “thank you so much for your kind words,” or “how can I help?”
Well then, then we are here on Earth, highly dependent not just on our brain and logic but also on our nose. There is no way around developing a nose. And I suspect that we develop our noses by getting things wrong a few times and hurting tremendously, which serves the purpose of inspiring a happy version of humility and a great love for our nose.
“Community engagement” in marketing and entrapment
“Community engagement” in marketing is a prime example of stealing words. I am not talking about the old school marketing with pretty girls in bikinis advertising cars. I am talking about the standard technique of asking carefully crafted “meaningful” questions, “soulfully” responding to comments, and essentially faking what would happen in normal human communication, with no soul under it, for capture’s sake.
Once the words expressing care and interest are all stolen, what then? I suppose, it’s like the good ol’ “how-are-you-fine-thanks” but a thousand times worse. At least with “how-are-you-fine-thanks,” everyone knows it’s fake. With elaborate emotional counterfeits manufactured in troughs by the brands and the alphabets, it’s a denser jungle.
As an interlude dissecting the jungle of counterfeits, here is a fairy tale from an article I wrote for Dr. Mercola some time ago:
Vampires and the waterfall: a fairy tale
Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine a beautiful, peaceful, clear waterfall. The waterfall is there as it has been since time immemorial, flowing freely, not owned by anyone, available to all.
And then one day, comes a family of fairy tale vampires, a congress of proverbial hungry spirits who are trying to fill the void with power over others and object hoarding. They see the waterfall and, since they are annoyed by unmonetized beauty, they block the waterfall off. Having blocked it off and built a dam, they open an irrigation facility, a water bottling facility, and a water-based products store. And maybe even hire some of the locals to work at their enterprise, providing valuable ‘jobs.”
Now, I don’t know how and why the people in this hypothetical tale just let the robbery fly--but maybe they were just like us, and they got bamboozled and taken by surprise. Perhaps every single person assumed that if this were important and lasting enough, someone would surely do something about it—and then nobody did, and then the abuse was too big, and it was too late. Sound like something we see every day in real life, no?
And then the children, born into this “new world order” without a waterfall, simply adapt to the new rules, assuming that from time immemorial, people had to work hard to earn the money to purchase water for their needs.
As time goes by, a new system of social values develops around the new circumstance of water scarcity, and new language is born to reflect the change. Those who can still feel the blood memory of insult and who are somehow unmotivated to work “for the man” get labeled as lazybones, while those who were resilient enough to comply without losing their faces and minds, get praised and incentivized.
The hungry spirit family even opens a free school for local kids, teaching them skills required for work at their enterprise—and parents start telling their own children that if they study at the “public” school hard enough, they may become successful like the shiny-bellied Mr. Manager at the water products store! And the kids who learn everything about their world from their adults just buy into it. And the memory of a world before the grand theft of the waterfall becomes paler and paler each day, until it becomes a myth about something that couldn’t exist.
How did the people who were living at the time of the grand waterfall theft get hoodwinked?
Was there a bloodshed? Would there be a bloodshed if they all just said no?
Was there perhaps an act of metaphorical hypnosis and dark spiritual activity on the part of the ones with troubled hearts? Was there a campaign of divide and conquer that pit the locals against each other at the most critical time?
Were there many individual choices made in favor of assuming one’s helplessness against the ‘trends”? Were the people tricked into feeling guilty, defective and backward for loving the waterfall as it was?
Were the children propagandized against the adults? Were the parents lied to about the dangers of the waterfall to kids? Were the people terrorized with imaginary things?
How did it go? And once the “new world order” was established and internalized by most, what can they do to break free?
Hustlers, hypnotists, and the CIA
They exist. They very much exist. Half or perhaps more than half of the words we agree with are produced by people who have chosen to walk on the dark side, in this life time, anyway.
One has to have highly developed senses and a great sense of humility and dedication to doing what’s right in order to start discerning which thoughts are one’s own, and which ones are imposed from the outside.
I believe that we all go through getting tricked and hurt, and then getting smarter and smarter, and shedding our ghosts in the process of this ordeal.
I believe that the point of the entire ordeal is to remember ourselves, to let go of all fear and become whole.
There really is no fear. There is pain sometimes, but no fear.
We are not alone.
PS. Look at this little baby play. May we all be free and relaxed like this little girl, Ellen Alavedyan.
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