Thursday, 2 March 2017

Why swear?

There are several reasons for justifying swearing (not the 'taking oath' swearing!).  Most common and acceptable among them is that it expresses best what one feels.  They rather than tell, manifest very forcefully what one is actually feeling.  That indeed is true.  However an argument can be made to the effect that we could coin a sound which would convey this, perhaps even with the same effect.  Say 'yuck' in contrast to 'shit'.

That and several other reasons put together brings me to fact that most swear words are taboo words.  They find their meaning and connection with things that are not considered 'good' or 'pure'.  So using a swear word is like a double attack.  Defy a broken rule!

I think that the whole notion of swear words and their rationale lie in the human conscious (or sub-conscious) need for polarity or duality. Our very thinking is dualistic.  We need 'bad', to show what is 'good'.  We want the 'impure' to retain the notion of 'purity'.  So however consciously we abhor 'evil' or 'bad' or 'impurity' we still need it to prove its counterpart.

So can a 'civilized' society totally do away with swear words? Never. It may not have the ones that we are used to hearing, but it certainly will have its own version.  If 'shit' isn't, 'yuck' would be!

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