I was fuming over the harrowing experience of driving in Victoria recently and happened to be walking through the museum and pondering about writing a letter to the editor.
I passed a display that read “Our languages are inseparable from our unique world view” and it linked language to spirituality and values. And I thought, ‘there’s my opening cue.”
A close examination of words we use can reveal a lot about ourselves. The phrase that was in my mind as I encountered all sorts of misdemeanors was “They’re all exhibiting entrepreneurial spirit.” How nice. It’s a phrase bandied about by our leaders as if it’s a good thing and the goal of our society.
But let’s examine that word more closely. Entrepreneur is the combination of two Latin words, inter- and prendre. The former means “in between” and the latter “to grab.” So an entrepreneur is someone who steps in between others or between people and their stuff and grabs on to whatever they can, however they can, crying out, “Mine. Mine. Mine.”
To see this word in action, just watch drivers (of motorized and human-powered vehicles) and pedestrians. Seeing the entrepreneurship out there is revealing – a good lesson in values in action. Drivers and pedestrians who budge, shove, swerve, take advantage of others, ignore civility, assume the universe centres on them, ignore safety rules, etc., are the epitome of “entrepreneurship.” They are at most, uncivil, and at least behaving illegally.
But, they are only a microcosm of our world … encouraged and abetted and glorified by those who rule us. That’s why we drive the way we do: our rulers encourage the entrepreneurial spirit. There are some necessary corrections to make to our thinking and values. Make the connect between language and values and reconsider your actions.