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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Specificity in Communication

choose wordsA Quote by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

In the truly great poets… there is a reason assignable, not only for every word, but for the position of every word. Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a poet that was known to be Bipolar II – A Chronic Hypo Manic.  His disease led him to pay acute attention to his diction in his writing and reflected his condition.

I am a poet and pay attention to every word, verbal or written. I am also a concrete thinker which often times comes across as gullible.  If someone says something my immediate thought process believes it.  It’s a symptom of being Bipolar II.  As a result, often times I come across as gullible.  I pay attention to diction in speech and take what people say very seriously.  It can be frustrating ’cause no matter how ridiculous something sounds out of someone’s mouth, my initial response in my mind, is to believe it.

For example, if someone says something, I pay strict attention to their specific word choice and when I go back and quote someone I make it a point to reiterate that you said this, not that.  People often times forget exactly what they say, and I recall it with sharp specificity.  This can be a challenge for both parties in an exchange of communication through conversation.  It is also a challenge when writing.  As a poet I spend time finding the exact word to make a direct point.  Coleridge was so precise he not only paid attention to his diction but the position of every word in his work.  His writings not only reflected his mania and depression in the content of his work but also in the syntax of his language.  Such a discovery may allow a person to recognize a mental illness through the written word and pre-diagnose a condition that might save someone from a first mental break.

Concrete versus gullible thinking can be a challenge for people with Bipolar II.  Often times it can cause trouble when speaking with a loose thinker.  For example, I have gotten in tiffs with friends or family members when some conversation arises from a previous conversation and I have to quote that person to prove my point based on what he or she said.

For example, “I might go for a walk today if you want to come with me.”  And I’ll say, “Great, I’d love to go, so give me a call when you’re ready and I’m there.”  (Let’s assume the person isn’t trying to diss you just forgets exactly what they said).  Then I find out that person went for a walk without me and I confront them, “Why didn’t you call me?  You said you might go for a walk, not that you were for sure going to go.”  That person doesn’t recall the “might” in the sentence or how, as a concrete detailed oriented minded person, you pay attention to every word in a sentence and will point that out. The person may look at you like you’re a freak or something, when simply put: you are right.  You know exactly what he or she said and expected that call if they decided to go.

When your mind approaches the world concretely and with detail it is a manifestation of how your mind works.  A Bipolar II mind is extremely precise to the point of being anal sometimes, and it can be hard to communicate with others in the world, which can be frustrating. But your heightened sense of detail separates you from the pack, and brings forth a unique perspective on life.  It may have its set backs when dealing with communicating in the real world, and people might not understand your detailed thought process, but it’s an attribute I hold sacred as a poet, and as a person.

And I hope you do too.

Letters and time image available from Shutterstock

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Specificity in Communication

Erica Loberg

Erica Loberg was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a BA in English. She is a published poet and author of Inside the Insane, Screaming at the Void, What Men Should Know About Women, What Women Should Know About Men, Diamonds From The Rough , Undressed, and I'm Not Playing.

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APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2012). Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Specificity in Communication. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Sep 2012
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