As promised I am continuing with the posts to elaborate on the “24 rules of Lie”. If you have not read it you can find it under the ‘About’ tab above. Though the title is tongue in cheek…being British I am prone to a certain camp insincerity…the rules themselves are genuine. The list is not exhaustive and is not intended as a lesson for the reader, more a reminder for me that I make public.
Today I want to do rule Number 11 (I never said I would do them in order!)
“11. Do not be impressed by words, they mean nothing in themselves. Only your intent gives them meaning. And remember that the purest words can spoken by an evil tongue just the same and nothing will drop off. So the words not only mean nothing, they prove nothing. This does not however excuse the incorrect use of the forms of your/you’re.”
I have a love hate relationship with language. The stories that we tell as a species fascinate me and always have. The words we choose to communicate our intent, our experiences, our place in the universe right now. The hypnotic rhythm of words spoken just right, that can convey you to a different place, time, state of consciousness. They are the thing that matters to me almost more than anything else. They are what got me started on the path I chose. The universal symbolism that comes from the combination of all of these stories (well actually this is more of a chicken and egg question, but perhaps we can talk about that later) Giving rise to Jung’s archetypes and the theory of collective unconscious. These are what I use to communicate as an artist. These are the vehicle for my expression!!.
And that is exactly the point.
As powerful as all that is, it is not the symbols, the words even the archetypes that hold the power. Yet we treat them as if they do.
What is a word? It is something we use as a ‘label’ for something we encounter right? So we can tell others, so we can come back and think about it later, so we can make some kind of sense of our experience.
The way I see it we experience the thing, we put the thing in a box, and the word is the label on the front. It tells us about what is inside but it is NOT what is inside the box.
And we forget that. We forget that the word and what it describes are not the same thing. We forget that the word could literally be anything and the thing would be unchanged by this (the existence of more than one language being obvious proof of that, even if the use of words did not change with time and location…which they do) Forget that if you rearrange the letters of any word you get more words, unrelated words. In and of themselves they have no meaning except what you associate them with.
One of the greatest strengths of the human brain is also it’s weakness. That is seeing patterns. In order to make sense of this existence the brain makes patterns and that is great…except where there is no pattern. When this happens words can be your worst enemy. You put the power in the words and forget about the thing, and you can start justifying all kinds of shit. You can start missing important things or leaving stuff out. You can build a structure of words around a word, that box you in and hold you back from exploration and further understanding.
You can create a negative association with a word or family of words and never hear the intent when someone speaks them because you are too busy reacting to the words and the power you have given them over you.
For example, and to reassure you I am not ranting at you, I have a negative association with the word ‘soul’. As such I do not like to use it. It is tempting to just disregard any story that uses the word, but I can’t do that. I have to make an effort to understand what is being said not react to words.
Why does soul bother me? well it has to do with the issue of circular belief, but I will talk about that another day. For now lets try to stay on topic.
Not only do we confuse the power of real things with the labels we use to identify them, we also seem to think that words can prove something. As I said in the original ‘rule’, the same words can be said by anyone no matter their true intent and nothing will happen to them. Their tongues will not turn purple and fall out. And unless there is an amazing coincidence they will not be struck by lightening. Anyone can learn to recite the right words at the right time. That in it’s self does not prove anything.
Bad words are only bad intent. You could say all the ‘bad words’ you can think of together with no intent and it would just be meaningless noise. But we have all experienced someone saying ‘kind’ words with an obvious intent to hurt, haven’t we?.
Try saying the same sentence to a dog using different tone of voice and see how much difference that makes.
The phenomena of the “grammar Nazi” is a thing now. People, while I do get where a lot of you are coming from with this, you cannot invalidate someone’s point of view or have insight into their intellect from spelling alone. Where there is no genuine confusion of intent then, like it or not, you have to consider all views no matter how they are worded or how poorly spelled.
Some of the greatest intellects of all time did not get a “basic education” and getting a “basic education” is not a feat deserving of automatic elevation.
Like the calender, words are just a tool to make it easier for us to interact with the physical world. They are not ‘real’ and they have no power over you.
Have a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day Kittens xxx
P.S. My favorite word is Weird.