Magical words

A help for Peace or Disaster

arun simon
4 min readMar 1, 2023

A magician turned his son (by the pronouncement of his magical mantra) to a bird. The magician had a sudden death, and boy turned bird was in a dilemma. How he will become a human being again or will the birds atleast will accept him as one of their own. (A story from a Malayalam poem, I happen to hear today).

We can easily throw away this story as a fantasy. Hopefully it never happens in the real life too. But do we underestimate the magical potential of our words, and deeds; atleast from persons who have power. The pronouncements of a catholic priest in sacraments do have a great value; a judge can declare you innocent or guilty; the word of Prime Minister leads to implementation or non-implementation of certain rules. Surely, these actions are not to be taken according to the whims and fancies of those people, but words do have power — at times, magical powers. But is it only an option for certain elites, if you dare to call them elites.

A parent plays a major role in the growth of a child. Are their words, especially those at the early ages, magical for the child? I think it does have an influence; how magical they are depends on various factors. In today's word of peer pressure and “peers know the best”, the words of peers, and especially the significant person (or friend) do remain magical.

Labelling a certain group of people is part of the magical power of words. We label a certain community as decent, and certain others as indecent or rogues. We label certain sections of the society (due to behaviour, sexual orientation, colour, birth, family histories, political histories etc.,) as outcasts, anti-nationals or immoral people. In today’s world of social media, you need not have a lot of political or cultural or social power, to perform magic via those platforms. Surely, the power of magic is not limited to our words, but to our acts too.

Why, so often, this word-magic is done in negative ways? I don't have all answers, but two reasons can be,

  1. I am not happy or jealous of the other; in some sense, i want to destroy them.
  2. I am not happy that they are too different from me, and i want to create them in my ideal image for them.

It is true that the magical powers of words/acts not only work in the negative way, but sometimes in super-positive ways. When someone decides to forgive a partner who has cheated, but asked forgiveness; when someone decides to fight against an injustice; when someone listens to a broken-hearted or the one in depression etc; yes magic can take many positive ways too.

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbours. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours grow good corn.” (Received from Facebook)

(Performativity of words is something spoken by a few philosophers like J. L. Austen and Judith Butler;)



arun simon

A Jesuit with all the crazyness… Loves Jesus…Loves church, but loves to challenge too… Loves post modern philosophy & Gilles Deleuze.. Loves deep conversations…