Words are magic.
When you say “pass the salt”, you set in motion a series of events that results in a salt shaker being placed in your hand. When you give a particularly good compliment, the uplifting power of it can endure for years.
Drawing on the system used in Magic: The Gathering, I have codified the five kinds of verbal magic.
Magic that heals, sustains, or in some way increases the joy of others.
Magic that degrades, hurts, or in some way increases the misery of others.
Magic that is designed to achieve the goals of the user.
Example: requests, orders, demands
Magic that expresses emotion in an unbridled or reflexive way.
Example: yelling, squealing, whooping with joy
Magic that expresses creativity.
Example: stories, songs, jokes
Note that many spells have multiple colours: polite requests are blue-white, road rage is red-black.
This codification allows us to talk about words with increased precision, and compels us to examine the words we use with greater rigour.
Some general rules:
- Maximise white spells.
- Minimise black spells.
- Be careful with red spells.
- When using blue spells, mix in some white. If possible, give the white precedence over the blue.
- Don’t use green magic as camouflage for black spells.