Meaningless words


Yesterday’s post on the spectrum of duality incited one blogger to start a comment thread on his own blog. I have a few thoughts on cyber hijacking but more importantly, he made the dreadful mistake of quoting me. It is not the quoting I mind (I’m honored in fact) as much the fact that my posts – on the whole – cannot be consumed piecemeal. Either you swallow the whole thing or you keep your appetite for another time.

‘Bernd is a semantic’, I was told yesterday by Art.

‘When he says table, he assumes we all know the precise definition and dimensions of the thing’, Art continued.

‘When I say table’, Art said, ‘I think of the concept. We are miles apart!’ He chuckled.

I stopped in the middle of a street in Munich and faced him.

‘Art’, I said, ‘when I say table, I will imagine it, sit on it and it becomes a chair’.

In my world, words are meaningless collections of letters. Every word I use comes as an empty shell and before it means anything, I need to build a little landscape around it. Each word gets its own front garden, plumbing and roof. With that, the word gets meaning.

In the beginning was the word and the word was meaningless.

Curiously, in the very post I refer to, I suggested that language is the cause of a lot of miss communication because by necessity it is a serialization of something real and far more complex. A “blue box” becomes two separate things when described because we haven’t worked out how to describe it holistically with a single grunt.

In business, science and many other fields, we have very clear standards for expressing ourselves. Such language is highly codified with style, common descriptions and clichรฉs making sure we approximately understand each other.

But here, on planet GeneticFractals, I deliberately stay away from such standards.ย  Some of these posts have (mildly) unconventional structure, words get redefined and I attempt to use rhetorical devices to convey a thought that isn’t specifically written down. The purpose being that I want you to get to the last line and be left with an after image or a thought that hopefully conveys my real ‘message’. Ideally, it is an ‘aha’ or ‘OMG’ type thought.

I rarely really manage it, but I try. This is a “GeneticFractals tries it” blog. Regardless, one thing is for sure, if you pick out a line from these posts and stick it on the fridge, or worse, on your blog, it will shiver from its nakedness and develop a death wish. It will reverse its meaning and if you are sufficiently lucid you’ll say, ‘what the hell!’.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be quoted on (yes, I know that is a stock market site) but just remember that it is your inspiration that you are quoting, not my words. I hope so anyway.

So consume at your own peril. And enjoy.

PS: forget all of the above, I was just annoyed with the cyber hijacking.


18 thoughts on “Meaningless words

  1. As you should be…good post loved it as usual…and if I quote you it means I’m ready for the men in the white coats! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. โ€˜How To Blogโ€™ articles recommend responding to other bloggerโ€™s blog posts on your own blog. It drives potentially new audience members to the post you are responding to, potential new followers, and helps to create a shared sense of community. Well, thatโ€™s the theory anyway.

  3. In the beginning was the word and it was meaningless…. love this! My mind exploded when I began studying language as dialogic instead of linear. Sorry you got hijacked. Thumbs down.

      1. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just to clarify I was thinking “dialogic” in the Bakhtin sense. That the meaning of even the most mundane utterance can’t be determined by just the definitions of the words or the syntax being used but is instead being constantly negotiated by the speakers (or writers) and even by the past and future contexts. So nerdy.

      2. Good thing I’m a nerd! Your comment spiked my interest and your precision is great. It becomes all the more interesting when the topic (expressed in words) isn’t well defined or understood. The dialogue then becomes and exploration and as long as the participants are willing to move forward, the joint understanding becomes so much richer.

        In France (and elsewhere no doubt) such dialogue is a mandatory element of any development. Clever monologues are seen as an art form but practical monologues are simply ignored. The French word ‘discuter’, to discuss, represents a comprehensive culture of dialogue and social interaction. People will walk up to you and initiate contact by saying, ‘alors, on discute’ – shall we discuss – which means that that they wish to get to know you and have an enjoyable time together. The first time someone proposed this to me my pragmatic Dutch side was quite confused. What specifically did he want to discuss? Now I know ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Sorry to hear about the cyberhijacking. It seems the blissful period of blogging that we all experienced for a few months has suddenly come to an end. Somebody opened Pandora’s box!
    I’ll work at being stoical about it and I’ll probably try to reinvent myself…

    1. Thanks, I squared it with the blogger and all is well. I have to admit that I had been surprised how peaceful this community was. Alas. I’ll see the new you – good luck.

  5. At the risk of doing it again, by that I mean taking something out of context, years ago, I read an essay by a guy who married the niece of a Navajo chief, Yellowman. Over the years he became facinated with their stories, especially those told to the children about the coyote. This prominent character was drunk at times, always mischievious, dishonest in his actions, and randy in his desires, to the point that he was oversexed. These attributes were never what the ‘white’ population mentioned to their children. So he began to observe and accumulate information for an essay which was eventually presented at a conference that his uncle-in-law presided over. After giving his talk on their stories and this cultural difference in teaching children, the chief said something like, ‘Very good, but you completely missed the point.’ For two hours, the chief talked about their tradition in story telling and the over all point he made is that their stories are about healing, that they have energy toward an end, and when one takes a piece of the whole out, the vibration of the story is completely different and can actually cause negativity to befall on the culprit.

    1. The chief tells a better story than I do but I agree wholeheartedly with him – and you! I once read a great novel that very much impressed me and at the end I scanned the pages to find the prt that impressed me. I couldn’t find it! I read it again and was impressed again. Sometimes we need the whole story.

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