What’s in your words?

25 05 2010

Language

We may think that as we can all speak, talk and have a big mouth, that language is easy. But I don’t find it so. It is actually very difficult. It’s difficult to put your own thoughts precisely into words, It’s very difficult to put abstract thoughts into words, and when you finally think you made a good job of it it turns out that people don’t understand what you meant to say.
So back to the brainworks, and trying to find another way to express what you meant to say.

Lying

And then there’s the concept of lying. I never got the concept of lying. Why bother to say something which isn’t true? How can you trust people after you found out that what they say is a lie? What’s the point of language if you cannot rely on what you are being told?
I never lie. I can’t lie. What I can do is swerve around the subject and suggest something else. Which works fine. But if somebody looks me straight into the eyes and asks me point blanc I can only say the truth. (My mum knew this!) Or remain silent. I cannot lie.
But I know people who lie and twist the truth habitually. It’s like they rather tell a lie than the truth. How do they do it? And then why is it that when I speak the truth I get told I am blunt?

The truth

The truth, for some reason, is never welcome. The truth can hurt. Maybe that is where the concept of lying comes in. When you speak the truth, and it is an uncomfortable truth, People who do not want to be confronted by this truth will ignore it, but if they are hurt by it, they will choose attack you instead. As the proclaimer of that truth they want to bully you into silence, and to nullify your opinions and thoughts, and then, in some Intellectual Acrobatics way, they think the truth you so inconveniently spoke will not matter anymore.

I find such behaviour fascinatingly bizarre. I prefer to meet trouble head on, but this really is the head down in the sand approach. Fascinating to see that happen right in front of you.


There is the other side of truth. You sometimes read a blogpost where the writer’s sentiments are shockingly racist or religiously elitist. Like for example, ”Non-religious people, or people from the wrong religion, are not human entities, they are nothing more than a breathing machine” or ”Atheists have no souls” (therefore you can kill them because they don’t count as human) Now nice-minded moral people are shocked by such evil and immoral writings and call on them to stop writing it, but I don’t agree. I think it’s brilliant that people speak out what is really in their minds instead of putting on a mask of respectability and decency. For myself I really want to know if somebody has an opinion which is diametrically opposite from my own. I like to see who people are without their masks. I prefer reading the truth! However unpleasant or inconvenient!

For those who do not not like the truth, the concept of forbidding free speech is the first choice of stopping hearing the truth and making it easier to ignore it.

Misunderstanding

And when you are discussing stuff on the internet, on a blog or forum, it becomes clear that your words have to fit your thoughts like a glove. Otherwise people will definitely not understand you. In this sense blogging is a very good excercise for all who wish to write. And you come across people who are absolutely unintelligible because of the way they write or flatly contradict themselves. Sometimes in a mindboggling manner! Like for example; you read people arguing about a subject with confidence, blaming and attacking others, and thenย  suddenly, one day, they admit they never had any idea what the concept was they were arguing against, and think it’s completely reasonable to state they never knew what they were talking about in the first place.

Or, and this ties up with The Truth, they willfully misunderstand you because they don’t like to look in a dark place. Especially when religion comes into play: any truth which as a side-effect critices religion cannot be true. But if it is evidently true then what? Well, I found out: They completely ignore the nasty inhumane facts you wrote down, and start attacking you. And when you keep reminding them about what you wrote, they will eventually become silent, or twist your words, and invent another reason why you mentioned some inconvenient facts and crimes against humanity, and attack you on that. It hold a certain kind of fascination. I cannot find out if this bizarre, unfeeling and unlogic twisting of ones words is done by design, out of a sense of self-preservation, or if it is the mindless automatic response instilled by religious indoctrination.

You cannot have a meaningful discussion with people wearing blinders.

Does not compute

Which brings me to ”Does not compute”. You can put your thoughts into simple, baby language. You cannot conceive how anybody on the planet who speaks the same language cannot understand them, but if your words clash with their mental programming they still will not understand them.
This is truly fascinating. Language isn’t as clear as we think. We can be misunderstood for

  • not being precise enough,
  • for using words which have a different content in another part of the world,
  • or when we are upset we misread,
  • or because the other person doesn’t like the concept implied in our words and so willfully misunderstands them,
  • or there seems to be a certain way human brains can get programmed and then no concept, however simply stated, which contradicts that programming, will get into that brain.
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9 responses

25 05 2010
aerinndis

What’s in a word indeed. Many different arguments and issues.
I have given up to try and talk to people, especially religious people, when they are in denial.
you are only butting your head against a concrete wall.
you will either get a never ending circular ”explanation”. This explanation will never touch anything concrete. Hence the concrete wall. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Or you will get an attack, and yes on parrallel lines. I hvae seen that happen a lot. you say one thing. And you get a response as if you said something different.

my advice is: leave well alone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

25 05 2010
Aafke-Art

Thanks Aerindis!

26 05 2010
MoQ

I read that last part 3 times. I still do not get it!!!!

26 05 2010
Aafke-Art

I wrote it and I don’t get it either.

27 05 2010
Lat

Hahaha! Language is indeed difficult to understand ๐Ÿ˜€

28 05 2010
Aafke-Art

Isn’t it?

27 05 2010
Achelois

Language is very powerful. When I was younger I had no respect for it. Now I bite my tongue so many times or slap my wrist because I feel I owe my respect to this aspect of evolution. I owe respect to language and I can’t just use it in whichever way I like. I think if we are all careful with what we say and how we say it we wouldn’t be using heartless blanket statements.

I could laugh it off and say well, atheists don’t believe in souls so how can they have souls ๐Ÿ˜€ but truth of the matter is anyone who uses such statements is hurtful and whether they believe in God or not, karma follows everyone.

9 08 2010
Intracranial Ground Zero

Language indeed is difficult, especially when trying to communicate your thoughts to people who do not share or at are familiar with your perceptive system (wich means almost everyone!!). A good lesson I learned is that it is not important what you say but what the counterpart understands. With this in mind, it is much easier to express yourself in a way, that is understable for others. People always are limited by their own perception. Make your messages as fitting as possible for the counterparts perception. This also includes mimic, gestures, voice, etc. (meta-comunication). The language only makes about 30%. This makes it of course difficult to communicate by writing and even worse if writing with people you donยดt know (like leaving comments on a blog). Communication happens on so many levels that it is close to impossible not beeing misunderstood and as mentioned before by Aafke and Aerinndis the background is important which indeed has a major influence on the perceptive system of each of us.
I think I will stop this comment now, because I could go on for a while due to my studies of the paedagogic field (Yes Aafke, Iยดm the guy with the cow patterned hat You met at Wacken).

11 08 2010
Aafke-Art

Achelois, you are right. It is somehow quite shocking that that example I used really happened. But it is an eyeopener. it explains a lot. If religion makes people to to be such callous heartless beings, It seems understandable that they can kill and maim innocent people without compunction.

Intracranial ground zero, One of the reasons I like blogging and discussions on the internet is that it forces you to be very precise with your words, To think about what and how you write it. And you are so right about the very limited effect words only have as compared to a real discussion, face to face, with all the interactions and facial expressions.

The bizarre fact that some people do not understand you if what you say does not compute with their internal programming keeps fascinating me. I think I need to write another post on that I have this brilliant example from my past to share….

I have also since learned that this willful misunderstanding of your words, the putting words you never said to you and answering those, or the ”parallel universe response” have all been neatly catalogued under the different logical fallacies. This site amused me enormously and I now recognise a fallacy at first glance!

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

I really like your point about the counterpart and what they understand, yet there is still the internal programming. I have experimented with this. I have put an argument in the simplest way and simpler yet. If it clashes with the internal programming it is as if your words cannot enter their heads.

I had started to wonder if you might not be he ๐Ÿ˜‰
It’s very nice you dropped by here! It was fun talking to you at Wacken ๐Ÿ™‚

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