cautious in diction

What does “cautious in diction”
mean in this context:

“We cannot avoid using power,
cannot escape the compulsion
to afflict the world, so let us,
cautious in diction and
mighty in contradiction,
love powerfully.”
Martin Buber


In the context of the quote by Martin Buber, “cautious in diction” means being careful and deliberate with the words we choose to use. Here, Buber suggests that while we cannot avoid using power and affecting the world around us, we should approach our use of language with careful consideration. This caution in language aims to ensure that our words do not harm or mislead, reflecting a thoughtful and responsible approach to communication.

Here’s a breakdown of the key elements:

  1. Cautious in Diction: This implies a careful and thoughtful selection of words. It suggests mindfulness about the potential impact of our language on others and the world.
  2. Mighty in Contradiction: This phrase complements the first by advocating for strong, decisive actions or stances that may challenge existing norms or expectations. It suggests a boldness in our deeds and convictions, even if they go against the grain.
  3. Love Powerfully: This final part urges us to channel our power and influence through love, suggesting that our actions and words should ultimately aim to promote compassion and positive impact.

Together, the phrase “cautious in diction and mighty in contradiction” encapsulates a balanced approach where careful and considerate language is paired with strong and decisive actions, all guided by love and a desire to use power responsibly.


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