The limits of your language are the limits of your world
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There is a link between power, knowledge and discourse. Systems of thought, science and politics evolve, not under the influence of history, but according to the interests they serve.
Power can produce knowledge and be internalized by individuals so as to (completely) guide their behavior or even determine the fate of entire civilizations. Organizations favor certain types of “savoirs” or knowledge to the exclusion of others. The ones that enjoy the favor of the moment are then hailed as “Sciences”, “Truth”, etc... In this way, entire populations will never question what is presented to them in “official” ways and garb. It is hence important to analyze power structures and to understand how they exercise control and define subjects.
Today, people have less and less of an overview of what is being professed as true knowledge or simply “truth”.
Discourse, using language is a powerful tool that creates us as subjects. We are immersed into it from the moment we are born and throughout education, our parents, teachers,.... in short all the people that surround us create our identity. This is why the first years of childhood are so important as they determine the level of knowledge a child will acquire and everything the child will come to see as “reality”. Later in life, discourse continues to shape us and to trace our destiny. Mass culture and media play a determinant role in this as they present us with the discourses of those in power or in control. What we (are able to) discuss is literally determined for us through communication campaigns involving all our senses. Truth, meaning, and morals are constituted for us and become part of our unconscious thought processes. Discourse is also exclusive in the sense that it determines what we can see or not. We all know the phenomenon: you can look at the same scenery for years but when someone has explained to you the different types of flowers, for instance, you suddenly start to see them for the first time. Quite literally it means that the limits of our language are the limits of our world. Language simply allows us to “make sense” of what we see or encounter in reality in that we can relate particular objects to universal notions and vice versa. So, language determines what we consider to be a reality for us which means that some ideas tend to be privileged to the exclusion of others. When we are not aware of how this causes reality to appear in different guises to different people, we will have a tendency to marginalize people not holding the same values. We will be literally “short-sighted”. The only way to change things is through communication and access to the means of communication.
Hence, power is born in the very interactions between people. It lives and develops through social networks. People and organisations owe it to themselves to be aware of this process. In fact, the only other choice there is, is to be passive and be victimized by discourse dynamics, forever eluding their grasp.
Language is the tool that determines how organisations see and deal with their world. Changing the way language is used in a company literally changes its identity. In the same way, you will see that when language is used differently to address stakeholders (employees, management, suppliers, clients,...) a whole new dynamic is born.
Paradigma has developed tools and training programs to help people and organisations deal with language. We expose the hidden power relations that inhere in the words and the jargon that is being used and we propose new avenues of thought and discourse.
We create a discourse map of your organisation or team, starting from the measurement of perceptions which are matched to expectations. Together with the corporate leadership, we set targets and expected output so that the organisation can evolve, develop new ways of thinking that require new paradigms of thought and new discursive strategies.
Paradigma invites you on a challenging but rewarding journey that will question the very foundations of the way you have worked so far but, if you bear with us, we will set you on the path to a whole new era.