Aug 4, 2013
The sermon was delivered on Sunday, August 4, 2013, during the traditional service, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Tamara Lebak, Associate Minister.
According to New York Times columnist Natalie Angier, “Cursing… is a human universal. Every language, dialect, or patois ever studied, living or dead, spoken by millions or by a small tribe, turns out to have its share of forbidden speech.”
Why do we swear? Somehow this temptation of forbidden fruit is serving human beings across cultures. One recent study claims that swearing produces the positive side effect of improving our ability to withstand pain. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from MythBusters employed a technique commonly used by researchers called the “cold pressor test” to assess this claim. Participants anchor their arms in ice water until they can no longer tolerate the freezing pain, while reading off a list of non-curse words. Then, they repeated the process while swearing up a storm. Spewing expletives evidently increases suffering stamina by a measurable average of 30 percent.
And yet, persistent complaining can also keep us stuck, limiting our perceived choices, and keeping the very thing we would like to change the same. Join me this week as I explore the power of words to change our present and our future.
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