Following on from my previous post about the general abuse of language, this one is solely dedicated to the abuse of WE.
I’m not sure when I first felt the tentacles of this phenomena enveloping me in its sinister snare, and it probably took some time to figure out what was making me feel so queasy about someone using a certain kind of WE.
The WE in question is one that extends to include me without allowing me to partake in the creation of whatever whole this WE pertains to.
But, once I did figure it out and start to note how it is used I began to see a pattern. The people who most often resort to using this WE are decision makers afraid to stand over the calls that they make which affect others, usually with very little self inflicted suffering as a result of those ill thought out decisions.
It’s a rather nice linguistic device, and possibly self-delusional psychological defence mechanism, to make one feel that a group as a whole has really made a decision, and thus deserves the consequences of it, when in fact it was down to the misguided call of one individual, or in some cases a small cadre of connected insiders.
I say misguided, because I have never heard this WE used when the results of a decision have gone well. That is when the self-promotional I comes into being. That trumpet blaring, white horse riding, self-congratulating, selfie taking I.
But people are not stupid. They see through this facade of inclusion and with varying degrees of apathy or acceptance hurdle it like any other daily test of their patience.
But, it is a subtle malignance that eats away at even the loose bonds that enable the abuse of WE. Nothing good comes of it. It drives people to distance themselves further from WE, it sparks a certain self-preservation mechanism to remove oneself from the disastrous consequences attributed to WE.
In the end, most people who can, fully remove themselves form this all-inclusive WE by hook or by crook, until only those that are trapped remain.
So, if there is no WE in US, don't use it. If you genuinely want a WE which everyone it pertains to is included in its meaning, then you need to make a conscious effort to use it only when applicable, or say I and stand over your decisions when it does not.
If you don't, you're a fraud! Maybe one day you'll be the emperor with no clothes, or maybe you won't, but either way you'll end up being surrounded by apathy, and that'll make achieving something greater than the sum of its parts impossible.