I was listening to a Ted Talk this evening by Lera Boroditsky on “How language shapes the way we think.”
In the Mormon community, the language surrounding coffee is always negative. Drinking coffee is a “sin.” Coffee drinkers “break” the Word of Wisdom. Even the phrase “The Word of Wisdom” — think about that! It implies “The WORD of WISDOM was handed down from GOD.” Oof! That is some heavy language with heavy implications.
When I think of coffee now, the words that come to mind are passion, community, artisans, connection, nature, intellectuals, joy, self-care. And with that shift in language, coffee now represents ideas of creativity, pursuing excellence, finding beauty in the simplest of things, caring for my health (the true point of the Word of Widsom,) exploring, connecting and being a part of the world, and more.
Which brings me to ask, “what other parts of my life have been shaped by the language of the Mormon world?” Honestly, some good, some bad. The reason I stopped attending church wasn’t to become a full-time coffee drinker. It was because every ounce of language used in that culture regarding women was toxic. That said, I truly believe in the power of language to reshape your world. The coffee community and the Crossfit community have shown me that it is possible.
At the end of Professor Boroditsky’s TED talk she says, “….the language that you speak shapes the way that you think. And that gives you the opportunity to ask “Why do I think the way that I do? How could I think differently? And also, what thoughts to I wish to create?”
I’m off to grind up some fabulous Brazil Nossa Senhora from Toby’s Estate, create a gorgeous cup of coffee with my new pour over gadget, sit down and identify few other Mormon language-shaping-thought holdovers, and chart a plan to create a new world of thought. After all, isn’t creating new worlds at the root of Mormon theology?
Yours in lattes,