Language of Change

A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.

James Allen

One can free children from warts by “purchasing” them. In practice this is achieved by giving the child a coin for, and thus laying claim to, his wart. As a rule the child then asks – amused or bewildered – how he is supposed to let go of the wart, whereupon one answers nonchalantly that he should not worry about that – the wart will come off all by itself.

Although the effectiveness of all kinds of magical and superstitious treatments of warts has been know since time immemorial, there does not exist a scientifically satisfactory explanation of these treatments; especially not for the procedure just mentioned. What happens is really quite extraordinary: A totally absurd, symbolic interaction leads to a concrete result; that is, the blood vessels leading into this virally produced tissue begin to constrict, and the wart eventually atrophies as a result of anoxia. This, however, means that the use of a specific interpersonal communication leads not merely to a change of the mood, the views, or the feelings of its recipient, as it can be observed on an everyday basis, but to a physical change that cannot “normally” be effected deliberately.