The other day I was talking to my boyfriend about how I feel like I cannot go a day without writing. He simply said “The pen is mightier than the sword, Katie!” and I asked him what that meant. He said that it means writing has more power to influence people than violence and war ever will. I thought that was a very wise saying and it made me lie in bed thinking about it.There have been many upsetting news in the world this year. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because we are even more exposed and connected online than ever, and are just merely hearing the reality of things that happen everyday. I believe that more beautiful things than bad things happen everyday, but we just don’t always see it or hear about it. For feeding off bad news generates fear and makes people cling to the news.
From research, the saying was first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu. The Cambridge dictionary explains the saying: thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence. I believe this to be very true, because the way we think can be massively influenced. Many ways of thinking have been passed down from generations and many books have influenced people all around the world. You may of heard a similar saying that the tongue is sharper than a sword. It can cut a person in a way that can mentally, emotionally and psychologically scar oneself. Where as a blow from a sword is instant and quick.
Literature and media can be used for good or bad. As cruel as the media being able to deceive and lie to millions of people each day, it also shows the power of the pen. It also indicates that those with information have more power than those with weapons and force. If I take it from a creative point of view, I feel writing has the ability to inspire, come to a greater understanding and carry on a sense of greater peace than violence ever will. A voice is far more expressive. Another take on the saying is that our physical wounds heal in time, whether it may be a cut or a broken arm, but the words of others can stay in our memory. It’s what makes me disagree with the saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, because words have the power to hurt deeper and the power to heal quicker.
Violence does not solve anything. It breaks all lines of equality, peace and harmony that the world needs. A sword harms and kills people, where as words can educate, communicate and bring people together. True wisdom comes from our ability to bring clearly what is right and wrong onto the table. When I was reading The Diary of Anne Frank a few years ago, it shook me to the core to see her courage and fight to stay alive. Her words written on those pages showed a human who wanted to have hope. I believe that part of us can really touch hearts. Everyone will die some day, but the use of violence will only cause those to come sooner to their death.
For better or worse, the pen has the ability to make good and bad influences in the world. Think of the most wonderful novel you have ever read. How did it make you feel? Did it make you feel engaged and imaginative? Many literature novels I read, remind me the beauty of life and the world around us. Other books indicate back to love being the strongest and most powerful emotion in the world. I believe that writing communicates awareness, ideas, imagination, creativity and understanding. For those who murder, are not mighty. But those who want to change the world for the better – have all the possibilities on their side.