Symbolic Sounds

Sounds effect people’s actions. Some sounds sooth while others irritate. A major chord is pleasing to the ear while a dominant 7th chord demands the chord’s progression to the tonic. Our ears have become accustomed to expecting various chord progressions.

During the Civil Rights marches, police sirens and dogs barking were irritating and often led to conflict. However, the strains of We Shall Overcome always brought a calm to the crowd.

The Objective is Nonviolence

Knowing that the objective is to achieve a goal by protesting without irritating, one should keep in mind that loud, abusive sounds provoke people to violence. Soft and soothing sounds lead to peaceful conditions.

Protesting an injustice in any Christian country can be done with many different Christian hymns. The association of the hymn with righteousness and justice will significantly affect those who hear the hymn.

Since religious hymns or chants appeal to the higher spiritual qualities, the same technique can be used in countries that are not Christian.

The Spiritual Qualities of Man

Regardless the differences among people, they are all one in spirit. Most people will have compassion for those who are treated unjustly. Therefore, the cry of the hungry is a symbolic sound that will usually attract the attention of compassionate people. Symbolic sounds that appeal to the spirit are the most effective in achieving the goals of protestors without causing violence. If protestors are attacked while maintaining a nonviolent posture, they will gain the sympathy and support of most of the world.

Symbolism in the Sounds of English Words

Not only do words have meaning, their sounds also evoke various associative responses. We hear someone speaking on radio, and we form a picture of that person without ever seeing him or her. We even form a picture of a person with no more information than the pronunciation of the person’s name.

The English language consists of soft and hard consonant sounds that are combined with vowels or diphthongs to form words. As previously discussed, the soft sounds are more soothing than the hard sounds. Consequently, phrasing one’s arguments in the softer sounds is a subtle way of protesting so that the protestor avoids irritation. Of course, you cannot avoid all hard sounds, but you should strive to keep them at a minimum.

Continue reading the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.

Also check out The Politics of Nonviolent Action Part One / Part Two / Part Three.

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