My husband showed me this TED talk by Sandra Fisher-Martins, about how unnecessarily complex language in medical, financial and legal documents “separates us from the information we need”. The talk is in Portugese with English subtitles, and it’s worth all 15 minutes and 38 seconds.
I’m struck by the phrase “information apartheid”, which suggests that language is being used as a medium of power and separation, rather than illumination and inclusion. If you can control the ways that someone uses language, you can control the limits of their entire world and all the possibilities bound within (and outside of) it.
There are so many lessons here, and so much that I could say about this. But talk to me first. What strikes you about the idea of “information apartheid” and the deliberate obfuscation of language? How is the relationship between language and power significant, especially in this age of hyperconnectivity? And in the midst of all this, what happens to human autonomy, potential and possibility?