Words, no matter how profound or potentially full of meaning, can easily lose their value. Why do they lose value? Doesn’t a word always carry its meaning consistently?
Aside from the fact that words can, and do, have different meanings, a word’s loss of power and impact doesn’t come from the different meanings it may hold. The loss of power comes from a diffuse meaning, one that isn’t crisp or distinctive. Let’s take the word “value”, a word that can be evocative and cause sage head nodding when used. Ask the user of the word what it actually means and most of the time, we get responses that are close to platitudes, responses that give us little traction. The same holds for words like “truth”, “trust”, “integrity”, “respect”, “love”, “commitment” and the list goes on. The point is not to find the perfect definition, but to imbue these words with meaning before their use, thus making them “meaningful” vs “meaningless”.