Monday, February 8, 2010

Men of Words

" We know that words cannot move mountains, but they can move the multitude; and men are more ready to fight and die for words than for anything else. Words shape thought, stir feeling, and beget action; they kill and revive, corrupt and cure. The "men of words" -priests, prophets, intellectuales- have played a more decisive role in history than military leaders, statesman, and buisnessmen. "
Eric Hoffer

I would like to hear your opinions on the quote and to what extent you believe this has any relevance for the History of Spain. Provide specific examples to support your opinions.


Ben said...

I believe that the quote is completely relevant to the history of Spain, moreover the history of any nation on earth. The power that men and women can derive from the manipulation of minds is incredible. Every major leader throughout world history has to some degree controlled the minds of those below him. Using Hitler as a general example. He controlled the minds of the entire German empire by swooping in on a white horse when the nation was at it's weakest. The atrocities that were committed in his name will never be forgotten. Within the quote Hoffer uses the terms "Priests, prophets, and intellectuals", three classes of people that are known as the wise. Those with strength of mind and faith. Undoubtedly these are the men and women who have the greatest power within their words, and I completely agree that these are the people that shape history. As for the relevancy to Spain, every major political figure that has ever made any sort of impact on the history has recruited men and women to their cause using the power of words. In that case, it is almost entirely words that can shape a nation's history.

Ian B said...

I guess I'm commentator numero dos. I think this quote is extremely relevent to the history of Spain. Every thing I've learned about Spain so far seems to have been linked in some way, shape, or form to ideals worth dying for. This whole city is riddled with words. Por ejemplo, there is a lot of politcal grafitti scattered around. The Spanish Civil War was a war of ideologies. Anarchism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, to name a few, were all at war not for land or wealth, although on the surface it might look that way, but for the hearts of the people. Spain is a land of passion and action. If you move the people's hearts you move the nation. In the U.S. it seems like we let the media do all the thinking for us. The words never really stir us to action. I feel like the people here are much more active in their politics.

Elizabeth Pawlik said...

Although, I believe in the expression "actions speak louder than words" it is undeniable that having a voice and letting oneself be heard coincides with action. Ian has a point when he says that in the United States people turn to the news. However I think that news media is not negative. Media acts as "watchdogs" of the government, it does not tell us what to think, rather tells us what to think about. Sharing of ideas is important, brings people into action, and yes the quote is relevent to the history of Spain.

katie said...

I saw this link and I felt it was connected with the "nina bonita" theory and the "obamaism" we talked about in class.

I personally believe it is true, no man is ready to die for ordinary words. I also agree words are actions, directions, and emotions. This is why it is crucial for those in power: priests, presidents, legislative candidates, etc to choose their words wisely. This is because when someone is so influential and has a large group of followers these followers will follow.
For example, consider Jim Jones. Jim Jones was an American cult leader who promised his followers a utopia in the jungles of South America. His words were so powerful he led a mass suicide, known as the jonestown massacre in 1978.
Another example is when Spain was under Franco's dictatorship. His words were so powerful, that no one stood up to him. Look at the pit Malaga, 349 of the Franco children burried there. These children died from starvation and murder.
Reflecting on world history, it seems to me words are more dangerous then mass weapons...