A Just Nation

My father used to tell an old Irish story about a tired traveller walking between towns. He met a couple of codgers on the road and asked how far the distance was to the next town.

‘Oooh,’ cried one man A ‘she be just around the corner over there!’

The weary man struggled on with relief.

‘What d’you mean by telling him that?  Killarney is 2 miles away!’ shouted man B in disbelief.

‘Agh, but did you not see how exhausted the poor fella was? I couldna tell him that,’ said A.

How many times in a paragraph do you use the word ‘just’?

1. Lack of power – we cannot own our actions?

2. Fear – fearful that when we instruct some one they may not do what we say, and so try to belittle the instruction.

a) Make it easier for them.

b) Make it easier for them to accept the instruction.

c) To make it seem easier.

d) The lack of self esteem that makes us long to tell someone else what to do.

Much more sneaky and cunning is when the word ‘just’ is used to subtly manipulate. e.g. in sales talk.

It has it’s place – but the word can be used as a minimizer. So I am wary when it sneaks up on me: wary of what is implied and the chasm of reality.


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Travel journalist interested in world politics with particular reference to linguistics & ethnic variations. Humanist.

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