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Can Cursing Work The Same As Prayer?

+4 votes
May 9 in Education ✍ by Virginia (4,092 points)
edited May 9 by Virginia

In steam logging days in the Pacific Northwest, one of the job requirements of the hooktender was a powerful cursing vocabulary. When dangerous situations came up daily, as a log getting hung up as the steam donkey dragged it across rough ground, curses might force the hang-up to break loose without killing anybody?

Also, for example General Patton was famous for his almost unbelievable invective, WWII also lives in danger. So, does the cursing help, can it save lives/work like prayers?

Video: Demonstration of a 1929 steam donkey, dragging logs in British Columbia.

5 Answers

TheOtherTink May 9

O'Tink, please check your link again? All I get when I open it is an outline list of topics...

@ Virginia,

Gee, that's strange, when I click on the link, I get the right article.

But here's another link to the same research:

O'Tink, it might have something to do with an outdated browser...but the second link worked fine. I was kinda joking to post the Q, but the research does not surprise me! Good for the researchers to take that on...

@ Virginia,

It's probably the same effect as grunting or screaming, which is probably why many pro tennis players do it.

I know it certainly enhances my pain threshold.

Hmm... and it seems to enhance pleasure too.... :O :blush: :angel: :) :D

Okay O'Tink...still possible the same effect as grunting or screaming, but not a done deal is what your second link says:

"We've actually thought a lot about that (why grunting/screaming increases strength), and one of our hypotheses is that yelling may activate the autonomic nervous system, which is the nervous system that controls the fight or flight response — that feeling you get when you become startled or scared, that adrenaline rush that a lot of people speak of. And that may help the muscle contractions be more complete and more forceful."

BUT article #1 has checked into the sympathetic NS, which is one of the two main divisions of the autonomic nervous system, and the conclusion was no...

"However, if the sympathetic nervous system was behind the increases in strength, there would be other changes that the researchers would expect to see - for example, in heart rate variability, skin conductance, and blood pressure. Contrary to expectations, changes in these parameters were NOT observed in the current study." (my emphasis added)

So maybe there is something really going on, like...mystical...! ;)

@ Virginia,

Yeah, I wondered about that too.

Tell ya what, when I get home tonight, I'll try measuring my blood pressure before and after a series of screams and before and after a series of swear words, and see if there is any difference between the two.

Oh, wait... I don't know any swear words.  Could you teach me some of the ones the loggers use?  :D

O'Tink, O'Course I will be delighted to teach you logger swearing! Hooktender special, comin' up!


Sure, as a little kid, like the other kids - and we were, of course, scolded - at school, in the family (in the Bible lessons, we were often reminded that swear words were a blasphemy), etc., and especially girls had to mind their language.

And when I learnt English (in England), there were all these "false friends" - in other languages just normal words - but in English, they were considered offensive.

Example (I was sermonised for using this word - lol):


@ Virginia,

Ok, I conducted my blood pressure tests last night.  :)

Resting blood pressure;  117/66 mm Hg

Blood pressure after 15 seconds of swearing: no significant change

Blood pressure after 10 screams in 15 seconds: no significant change.

Perhaps the pressure changes referred to in the articles were momentary. (it took me about 30 seconds to measure my pressure.) 

@ Marianne,


Did you use SUCH blue language that you were censored?  :O :) :D

omg O'Tink we are getting such great science done now, right here on SOLVE!

btw that is certainly a very healthy resting start with!

@ Virginia,

Thank you.  I just hope the neighbors didn't hear the swear words and screams.  :O :D

You just tell 'em it is all for the sake of science...

@ Virginia,

Well, they didn't say anything, but it seemed to me they gave me some strange looks when I came home this afternoon.  :ermm:

Maybe it was just my imagination.  :angel: :D


Like that (if it can be heard but not seen):


or like that (if it cannot be heard or seen):



@T(h)ink & Virginia



@ Marianne,





Wait a minute!  It's not what you think!  I'm playing tennis:angel: :) :D


And European association football or soccer seems to be "Sodom and Gomorrah" for swearing:

By the way, grunting soccer players are hardly heard, as their groans, moans, etc. are drowned by their yelling, hooting, cheering, whistling, booing and applauding public.


@ Marianne,

LOL, but the hand gestures are visible.  :D

Indeed, the hand gestures are visible and really offensive.

I'd rather abstain from posting a picture - too many soccer stars were caught ...


:angel: :D


Hitman May 9

Hey! It always works for me! They didn't teach much about proper grammar in the Marines but cussing was the best way to relieve stress and sometimes it just feels good!

Virginia Hitman May 10

I do not typically do it very much Hitman, but this year so far has been difficult...and I agree sometimes it just feels good, nothing else will quite express yourself!

I'll be the first to admit, I have a foul mouth! I'm sure my cursing could put some men to shame! 

Well Angela be sure to see O'Tink's links here, because now it may also be healthy for you...and, ;) who knows kinda mystical too!

Marianne May 10

I think that cussing is like yelling, screaming, growling, hissing, etc. with strength, or hitting a punching ball, for instance; so, you're letting steam off, releasing an accumulated bubble of frustrations, anger, fears, pains, grudges, exasperation or extreme tiredness, which are weakening or hampering your actions and thoughts; it helps also to "clean" and activate your breath, your mind, calms down and canalises your inner violence into the required effort.

The curses express most certainly a rebellion against too demanding rules and restrictions (whether through religious or secular laws), unbearable taboos, ill fate and hardship, and it feels like getting rid of these hampering emotional and physical burdens.

Furthermore, the metabolic reactions are prompting the release of the energising substances (adrenaline, etc.) allowing to deal more efficiently with a critical situation.

As to the slurs, they might be the easiest to come, but used too often, at the wrong moment or in the wrong place, they can also offend or hurt other people and, sometimes, yourself (insults can be fined).




Virginia Marianne May 10

That is one very good point about cursing, Marianne, too often it is used to hurt others...ima try to keep mine to just those cleansing and calming things!

I enjoyed the cartoons!

Marianne Marianne May 11


Lol - I curse and yell, of course, but not in public.



katherine24 May 11

This post is hilarious :D

Marianne katherine24 May 12

Thank you, Katherine - laughing is good for all of us.


Virginia katherine24 May 12

You have been bringing good posts also, Katherine...some educational and informative, some funny!

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