Tag Archives: semantics

Words Matter

 

“No one gets angry at a mathematician or a physicist whom he or she doesn’t understand, or at someone who speaks a foreign language, but rather at someone who tampers with your own language.”
― Jacques Derrida

 

In my experience there is nothing mere about semantics. Words are powerful symbols that many live by. You can call the same entity an angelic being or a demonic force and by doing so alienate a good portion of the people reading. You can say someone or something is retarded and some would nod their heads along with you while any who either had a developmental delay or who loved or supported them would be offended. Something similar would happen by using the word gay. We all have terms that offend us, words which we are quick to see as victimizing no matter the intent behind them. Words which tend to cause either otherness or offence based on a given reality tunnel. If you have never met any one who was gay and had no real experience with people who are classified as developmentally delayed than when you hear those terms so offensive to some, it might as well be a foreign language. When they are words that have been used to describe you or someone you know or care for then it becomes personal. The above are examples. There are many others depending on paradigm, people known and phrases used. Words do matter just not the same words to all people.
Blessings, G

 

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Red DreamsRed Dreams by G A Rosenberg

 

Moving Through the MachineryMoving Through the Machinery by G A Rosenberg

 

Quote of the Day – April 16 2012

“Is”, “is.” “is” — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don’t know what anything “is”; I only know how it seems to me at this moment”
― Robert Anton Wilson

So much of what I’ve been thinking and writing about of late seems to come down to this quote. We human beings love to generalize and then stop. If we can peg something down and describe it then we think we have a handle on it.  “Pumpkin Pie is good”,  “Violence is bad”, “Roberta is smart” Once we have these descriptive maps, we tend to fit our reality around them. Even the worst pumpkin pie will taste bette than Brussel Sprouts if we have in our mapping of reality that one is good and the other is bad. Violence done to defend oneself or one’s loved one is looked on critically because everyone knows that ‘Violence is bad’. When applied to  highly relativistic areas like politics, this classification becomes even more fraught. Words that we use to describe our countries or our points of view can come back to bite us in the ass in a big way. Right now in the United States, the government tells us that ‘Iran is bad’, ‘Iran is warmongering’ etc. It is justifying a possible war using much the same language that it used the last time to justify the last war. You remember the second gulf war? The one where we were told that Iraq was manufacturing and stockpiling nuclear missiles and so we should get them before they get us? Only later on, it turned out that that wasn’t quite true. Once the rhetoric was stripped away, there was no proof of nuclear weapons in Iraq.

Now we are being told similar things about Iran. What’s worse is that many believe it without question. After all our elected officials are reliable. Aren’t they?

Blessings, G

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Fractal Soup (Unicursal Hexagram) by G A Rosenberg

Semantics–Reaching An Understanding

Semantics is the study of meanings of words. From what I’ve noticed, quite often even tho we believe we’re speaking the same language, we seem to be making the same sounds but for each of us, the meanings can differ hugely.
easy words this applies to:
Light, Dark, Conservative, Democrat, Liberal, God, the Devil, justice, work, job, mission,
I could go on and on…
it seems to me that so much of the conflicts between either individuals or groups of people tends to be the mistaken belief that the other person’s meanings are the same as ours…
Can we forge agreements? Beforehand, say for me this word means this, what does it mean for you?i believe that short of full telepathic conversation,This may be the only way for communication to have a hope of working =)
or perhaps asking as we go along, when you use this word, what do you mean?
because expecting agreement to last or remembering that this is what we agreed on can be difficult… sometimes we almost need to have person to person dictionaries in our head.. then once body language and expression is thrown in……

Most often, I delight in the fact that communication happens at all

What it keeps boiling down to for me is that working to understand another’s heart takes me further than working to understand their words