Flash briefing 27 – Utterance is magic

Today’s episode is different to other themes we talk here, which are more strategy driven. Today is about art, and how one artist sees speech, sound and communication. It’s a quote that stood with me, and I want to share it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

I like the intersection of technology and art, and everything else. And in terms of voice-first Ursula Le Guin paints the best picture: “Sound is event. Speech, the most specifically human sound, and the most significant kind of sound, is never just scenery, it’s always event. This event of speech is the most potent form of entrainment we humans have and the intimate tango of speaking and listening is the stuff of great power and great magic. 

When you speak a word to a listener, the speaking is an act. And it is a mutual act: the listener’s listening enables the speaker’s speaking. It is a shared event, intersubjective: the listener and speaker entrain with each other.

The voice creates a sphere around it, which includes all its hearers: an intimate sphere or area, limited in both space and time.

Creation is an act. Action takes energy.

Sound is dynamic. Speech is dynamic — it is action. To act is to take power, to have power, to be powerful. Mutual communication between speakers and listeners is a powerful act. The power of each speaker is amplified, augmented, by the entrainment of the listeners. The strength of a community is amplified, augmented by its mutual entrainment in speech.

This is why utterance is magic. Words do have power. Names have power. Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.

End of quote.

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