Speaking is how we show up in life, everywhere and all the time. Our speaking is who we are in the world.“ – Robert Rabbin on Rebelle Society
“Their voices was all they had.“
Cornel West on BigThink
Just think for a moment how people have been silenced over the centuries. Especially women, children and slaves had to remain silent.
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law”.
(1. Cor. 14:43)
“Children should be seen – not heard!”
Women were not allowed to raise their voices in a man’s house – sometimes they even had to remain absolutely silent when they were giving birth.
In Germany, young mothers were told to put their babies aside, in a dark room, and let them cry. This was to teach the little ones from the very beginning, that their voices would not be heard, they would not be listened to, that they could not impose their will unto others, that nobody would fulfill their wishes or needs – no matter how loud they cried.
On the contrary, people thought it was good to let children cry for hours. It would strengthen their lungs, they thought.
It didn’t strengthen the children. It weakened them in many ways. On a pre-conscious level, they may have concluded that there is something wrong with them, or something’s wrong with their voices because obviously they were inaudible to other human beings, they could not be heard.
As a result, many of us “lost” our voices. Not in a literal sense – we can still say “Good Morning!”, “How are you?”, and “How much will I have to pay?”
Expressing our needs, though, speaking our minds, or sometimes just saying “No!”, many of us find difficult. There’s even a joke “she’s suffering from a speech impairment, she can’t say No!”
Of course, this was the aftermath of a Mother’s Manual written in the 1930’s, “Die deutsche Mutter und ihr erstes Kind” by Johanna Haarer, “The German Mother And Her First Child”. This book was printed and reprinted until 1987, but of course originally it just suited well the totalitarian ideology, because people are not to use their voices in a totalitarian society. They are not to speak up, not to speak their mind, not to express themselves. Not via spoken word, not via writing not via painting or otherwise. Totalitarian systems need obedient subordinates who will not raise their voices.
There are times when we need to speak our truth – for at least two reasons.
First, for the benefit of generations-to-come, for mankind in general and for humanity itself. Because, how could mankind evolve if we didn’t speak our experiences and our knowledge? Where would we be if our ancestors would have remained silent and kept their wisdom to themselves?
Secondly, we need to speak for our own sake. Being held invisible and inaudible feels like being put aside, like being annulled. Only the dead say nothing, keep silence, and remain silent. “Our speaking”, though, “is who we are in the world”.
So, we need to speak! Let our voices be heard!
May it be in a whisper into your neighbor’s ear, may it be in writing or painting, or in any other way you like to express yourself. Let your stories be heard! Beginning today, we need to find our voices again!
Blog by Ysolda Dee
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