There’s a certain part of the population that’s really good at speaking, writing, and generally persuading people. We score high on verbal and written SATs (not so much on math), and we were the kind of kids that people said should become lawyers.
When we move into the world, we think about how we can “get paid to do what we love,” and so we find jobs in which we use our skills to change peoples’ minds for the boss.
Maybe we should stop.
It is a gift to be able to speak or to write well. But to look around at how those gifts, when established as careers, play out is to see destruction. Mainstream journalism is a massive con, marketing a cold manipulation at scale, politics is, well, politics. Even many lawyers and preachers are corrupt.
We speakers and writers are already prone to arrogance and self-love, and our words give us pathways to power and further self-aggrandizement. Tying livelihood to persuasiveness is dangerous for this reason. It also endangers the integrity of our words and speech, for obvious reasons.
Maybe we shouldn’t get paid for doing these things we love, not because they are bad, but because they are too important. d