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LonesomeFog
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:53 pm
Posts: 11
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:38 pm 
 

I was recently intrigued by a reading assignment of a work by John Locke about the meaning of words.

The whole class time that was spent talking about it was also spent analyzing various words and if they can apply to the windowpane theory, which if I recall correctly is this:

When one person speaks a word, the receiving person gets the exact same image in their head as the speaker. Basically, it is like the receiver looking into the mind of the speaker and seeing what they are thinking. According to John Locke, a few examples of words that would fit this theory would be seven and triangle.

We were talking about hydrogen, and one student brought up the fact that there is a band called hydrogen, although I doubt he was referring to that exact band, since there might be a non-metal band called hydrogen.

Another discussion that occurred via e-mail outside of class was about the word no, and does no mean no in the mind of a rapist. Some asked if it is possible that they might believe that when a woman says "no" that she does not really mean it, while others countered that the rapist had no intention of engaging in sexual conduct, and was raping for the pleasure resulting from having power over an individual.

Lastly, someone raised a question about The Bible...

I personally expressed my opinion that The Bible is one of the most interpreted works of literature on Earth, that there are Christians who would gladly stone someone to death for being gay, while other Christians ARE gay, and there are even Christians that also practice elements of Wicca(Don't ask me how).

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Cjk10000
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:20 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:49 pm 
 

Words are ultra ambiguous in some cases. For me though, when I hear "death"; I don't think of dying, but rather Chuck Schuldiner.

Damnit, I wish I had that article, it basically tells you why the word 'fuck' is not bad, and its basically people who automatically view it as bad will always have prejudice against it. A word is something we make out subjectively... an iPod video could be seen as a movie player in one persons head, a porn viewer in the other.

The woman thing is dead on, lol...
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Cruciphage
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 9:41 am
Posts: 589
Location: Standing right behind you
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:51 pm 
 

Words tend to acquire shades of meaning based on usage. Negative contemporary words such as lame, dumb, idiot, and retarded used to be more descriptive than slanderous. You can't call a mentally retarded person retarded anymore because of the negative connotations it now possesses. Instead, we have to deal with vague terminology such as "mentally handicapped" and "differently abled."

Sometimes words have absolutely no meaning without the proper basis for understanding them. I thought the title of an anime called "Peacock King" or something was ridiculous until I learned that some cultures link the peacock to Satan. (The word satan itself is another example of this.)

In the case of most nouns, which are just sound combinations we created to denote specific objects, it's fairly easy to directly access the speaker's thoughts. Everything else, adjectives particularly, is a little more dicey.

"Fuck" is a slang term which, if I'm not mistaken, comes from the German word ficken, "to penetrate." "Shit" comes from a Hebrew word which means essentially the same thing. Maybe I need to research them more, but I can't account for why people regard them as vulgar.

Words are symbols just like crucifixes and STOP signs and have meaning only when we give it to them. Referring to a window as a "googly-moogly" doesn't change the essential nature of the thing we English-speakers call a window.

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Corimngul
Freddled Gruntbuggly

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2004 12:18 pm
Posts: 1823
Location: Sweden
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:57 pm 
 

I hope the non-metal hydrogen is better. Yes, referring to the band(s). The element hydrogen in its metal phase is awesome after all.

Locke's theory is quite compelling, though he has problems with metaphors and logic. Words such as 'and', 'or', 'not' are hardly visual ideas and don't really fit.

As for words being ambiguous - nothing could be more true.

Quote:
Referring to a window as a "googly-moogly" doesn't change the essential nature of the thing we English-speakers call a window.


The only change is that it's harder to derive the word from Danish.
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Avestriel
Butterfly Sister Petunia

Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:42 am
Posts: 135
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:35 pm 
 

Words obviously can't be one hundred percent always the same on everyone's minds or one hundred percent always different on everyone's minds, because if they were, communication would be futile.

I've always thought that language works on some kind of intellectual hope. One can only hope the other person understood what one said, and sadly a lot of times this is not the case. We cannot apply a definitive into the meanings of words because not only would that take away our ability to read through lines, make double senses and speak "poetically", but it would also render communication useless.

Words ARE ambiguous, but if we give in to that idea, we must assume everything we understand from words is either wrong or half right, and even though a lot of times this is accurate, this notion would lead the human culture and communication to an end.

That's what I ment with intellectual hope. We must ignore some notions that would only confuse us and even if we understand them, they don't help improving our lives. This is sad, and it's even more sad to know that this notion is used for the wrong causes (some may say this is the way religion works), but we have no choice but to "not think too much" some things. Sometimes, ignorance truley is bliss.

Or maybe I'm a whacko.


Cruciphage wrote:
"Fuck" is a slang term which, if I'm not mistaken, comes from the German word ficken, "to penetrate."

Fuck: Fornicating Under The Consent of the King.
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thomash
Metal Philosopher

Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:31 pm
Posts: 1855
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:49 pm 
 

Avestriel wrote:
Cruciphage wrote:
"Fuck" is a slang term which, if I'm not mistaken, comes from the German word ficken, "to penetrate."

Fuck: Fornicating Under The Consent of the King.

Actually, Cruciphage is correct. I'm not sure if you were serious or not, but acronyms given as the basis for the word fuck are urban legends. "Fuck" probably does derive from ficken, which is so old that linguists believe that it was used, in some form or another, by Germanic tribes during the period of the Roman Empire. The Wikipedia page mentions other etymologies but in the academic papers that I've read the most common account is that ficken was probably a part of Old English from the very beginning and eventually became "fuck" as English developed out of Anglo-Saxon German dialects.

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Cruciphage
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 9:41 am
Posts: 589
Location: Standing right behind you
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:54 pm 
 

Avestriel wrote:
Fuck: Fornicating Under The Consent of the King.

This acronym is a popular etymological myth.

EDIT: I missed the boat on that one.

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Avestriel
Butterfly Sister Petunia

Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:42 am
Posts: 135
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:00 pm 
 

I was just kidding there, to light up the reading of my post a little :p
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Cruciphage
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 9:41 am
Posts: 589
Location: Standing right behind you
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:09 pm 
 

Avestriel wrote:
That's what I ment with intellectual hope. We must ignore some notions that would only confuse us and even if we understand them, they don't help improving our lives. This is sad, and it's even more sad to know that this notion is used for the wrong causes (some may say this is the way religion works), but we have no choice but to "not think too much" some things. Sometimes, ignorance truley is bliss.

Slightly off-topic, this is an important point a lot of people seem to miss. Whenever I'm confronted with the notion that reality is an illusion, I always respond, "Even if that's true, I might as well treat this as real since I'm experiencing it right now." Even the presence of an illusion suggests that something exists somewhere. I know that subatomic particles blink in and out of existence all the time, and it's possible that all the particles in the universe could cease to exist simultaneously, but what the hell good does obssessing over this do me? How does it improve the circumstances of my life?

Everything begins to unravel when you think about it too much. Take the idea of populations being "native" to an area, for example. If you believe commonly accepted theories about the prehistoric migration of human populations, nobody is native to anywhere. Even if your people have remained in the same spot for 5000 years, they still came from somewhere else originally. Is that somewhere else their native soil? Is it the place they came from before that?

This is why I do drugs: to shut my brain off for a little while.

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Avestriel
Butterfly Sister Petunia

Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:42 am
Posts: 135
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:32 pm 
 

Yes that's a..... sort of extremist way to put what I said on practics, but yes, it's the same thought. I don't think reality is a lie nor do I use drugs, but to each their own I guess :p

Also that second paragraph of yours is the base of my idea that we all are cosmopolitans and that borders and geographic limits should not exist but I think someone else thought of it first :scratch:
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Deaths_Design
Anti-Christian Miscreant

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:32 pm
Posts: 296
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:18 pm 
 

I understood the first portion of this thread... but the last two posts are a bit confusing and I'm not sure how we came to that.

Anywho, interesting stuff about words there. I never really thought of it like that. Or rather never gave any more thought to it than a fleeting brain spasm.

Oddly enough, just today I was thinking how letters and words are just symbols and how neat it would be if we could all re-teach ourselves so we could use wingdings (I think they're called) in Microsoft Word. :lol:

And Cjk10000; I think the exact same thing when I hear "Death". Or it makes me think of "Spirit Crusher". That being said... what if when hearing words you not only don't imagine the same things as the speaker, but what if you think of other sets of words completely? Or am I the only one that does this? I think I may be retarding myself...

However, I can see this perhaps being the cause of some learning disabilities. Sorry if I, myself, am learning disabled and this is common knowledge already, haha.
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vondskapens_makt
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:23 pm
Posts: 567
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:20 pm 
 

I can imagine Deaths_Design being a modern-day prophet, turning people on to the MA faith, handing out pamphlets and bibles written in Wingdings, and speaking in Wingdings (if that's possible :lol:)
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Cruciphage
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 9:41 am
Posts: 589
Location: Standing right behind you
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:23 pm 
 

Deaths_Design wrote:
I understood the first portion of this thread... but the last two posts are a bit confusing and I'm not sure how we came to that.

Sorry. My brain has the unfortunate habit of connecting things which aren't completely related. The result is a tangent which has practically nothing to do with the original topic.

I think the point I was trying to make is that with ambiguous concepts, you have to draw the line somewhere. Communication exists based on mutual agreement that word A means one thing while word B means another. If you get caught up in biased hypotheticals such as "She said no but she really meant yes so I put my weiner in her," communication becomes pointless and almost impossible.

This still doesn't seem to have much to do with the original topic.

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