“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?
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Fractal Soup (Unicursal Hexagram) by G A Rosenberg
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