Monday, October 15, 2012

Ideas And Their Names

Language is like money and electricity: nearly everybody uses it, but hardly anyone really knows what it is, or how it works. When I read what people write, or listen to them talk, it's often obvious to me that very few understand the difference between words and ideas. If people did understand the difference, they would take the time to define many of the words they use. They would regard it as necessary.

Here's a useful analogy: If ideas were people, words would be their names. Imagine you're having a conversation with Pat about another person called Mike. Trouble is, each of you is talking about a different Mike. At first, neither of you notices, because the two Mikes have a lot in common; they both work in factories and are married to women named Debby. Then, Pat starts saying things about Mike that you know aren't true, and vice versa. Eventually, you both realise that you're discussing two different Mikes. Now your conversation turns into an argument over which Mike is the real Mike.

That last bit wouldn't happen, of course, unless both of you were completely irrational. You wouldn't struggle to understand that more than one person could be called Mike. Instead, you'd agree to use surnames, or something, to distinguish between them. Or else you'd agree to discuss the same Mike. It wouldn't happen if you were talking about a person, but it happens all the time with words like: freedom, democracy, faith, morality, god, love, enlightenment, I, ego, real, anarchy, etc. Clearly, a lack of common definition makes true communication impossible. I mean to say one thing, and you hear something else. In my experience, it's the reason for most arguments.

If English were a perfect language, this wouldn't be a problem. A perfect language would have a unique and specific word for each idea. Mathematics is a perfect language in that respect. The range of ideas it can represent is restricted, but there is zero ambiguity in the meaning of its terms and symbols. Sadly, English isn't like that. Many English words do too much work.

In Orwell's "1984," party members use a modified language called "newspeak." The aim of newspeak is an overall reduction in the number of words in use. Those words targeted for elimination are any that are unnecessary for communicating the party's ideology. I'm not alone in noticing a shrinking of vocabulary in general use. Orwell got that right. However, there is a parallel pruning of meanings that Orwell didn't predict in his book. Take the word "spirituality" for example. The idea that I associate with that word is: awareness of the Universal centre, and the direct knowledge that arises from that awareness. In common usage though, spirituality has come to mean: religion. Those are two completely different ideas. The second idea already had a name: religion. Now it has two, but the first idea has no name. An idea with no name cannot be discussed. Not only that; as Orwell explained, we normally think in words as well, so ideas with no names are difficult to entertain, even in our own minds.

Because of my interest in philosophy, I feel this mutilation of language rather keenly. It has become a source of constant frustration to me. It is the reason my unfinished and abandoned blog posts outnumber my published ones. I've often been struck entirely dumb by it. I'd prefer to remain silent rather than be misunderstood. I feel like, allowing myself to be misunderstood amounts to involuntary lying. That's because I'm trying to tell the truth, though. If I wanted to lie, if I were a politician, or other propagandising pundit, I'd be delighted. Cui bono? The ambiguity of English is probably being deliberately employed as a vector of ponerisation.

I don't see a way to alter this course. The accepted definition of words is a matter of consensus, and all mass-communication channels are in the hands of professional liars. I do have faith, though. (I define faith as: trust in the intelligence of Universe.) In the long run, the machinations of TPTB will fail, since they run counter to Universe's clear intention to realise Itself. Evolution (meaning: the tendency of Universe to develop forms of increasing complexity and range of awareness), is triggered by crisis. Transcend or die. Evolution happens when it must. It may be, that our present linguistic mode needs to become critically malfunctional, before a more evolved mode can emerge. Something that incorporates telepathy perhaps?

There is no reason to rule out such an occurrence. For one thing, telepathic ability already exists in a minority of humans. They may be analogous to the first few people to get telephones. For another thing, telepathic ability would be enormously adaptive at this time in history. Imagine how many problems could be solved if there was no need to guess about anyone's true intentions. If a sufficient number of humans were to acquire telepathic abilities, the people currently in power would lose their positions. I can't resist also mentioning a connection with the end of the Mayan long-count calendar on Dec. 21 of this year. End-of-the-world doomsayers always forget to mention the beginning date of the count: Aug. 11, 3114 BC. Whatever happened then, is what now completes itself. We know that date did not mark the creation of the world. However, one thing that did begin, right around that time, was writing.

Possibly, it's already started. Maybe the psychopathic liars who rule the world know it has. What if their EMF and chemical neurotoxin assault on us is an attempt to prevent it? It would make sense.

Perhaps there are ways we could prepare ourselves for a change like that. I would advise paying more attention to the meaning of the words we use. Words are only symbols of meaning. Word/symbols can pass, even through our own minds, with little, or poorly formed, meaning attached to them. There's a simple way to find out if you're doing this. Try to define your words. If you can't define the word, you don't know what it means. Telepathy depends on clear meaning. It's a good practice in any case. It improves mental clarity and makes it harder for manipulators to confuse you.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Return of Torquemada

Never let a good crisis go to waste, eh. There was a headline on Press TV yesterday that read: "UN must implement resolutions against blasphemy: OIC". After checking the calendar to make sure it really was 2012 and not 1512, I read on, and it was even worse than the title implied. Apparently, what I'm about to say may already be illegal according to the UN.

First, some definitions to avoid misunderstanding. Morality is the exercise of conscience. Conscience is the means by which we directly perceive the difference between good and evil. Conscience is a sense, like sight or taste. However, instead of representing the physical world, it is designed to reveal moral rightness or wrongness.

Some readers here may wonder why I give book-based religion such a hard time. See, a lot of people have been conditioned to believe that these religions bring something worthwhile to the table. If you request specifics, they're a little hard to come by. However, one justification given, is that religions teach people to be moral. Oh cruel irony! Religion destroys morality. Yes, you read that right. I detest religions for a lot of reasons. Their horrific and ongoing crimes are really reason enough. What their followers have done to those outside their cults, is beyond sickening. But they've also done a lot of harm to their own. They have ruined their followers' minds with their systems of contradictory beliefs that subvert the intellect to the point that it gives up in despair. And then there's the moral damage that they do.

Religion destroys morality by substituting a psuedo-morality of rules for the true morality of conscience. The ten commandments of the Yahwists are a prime example. Religions define morality as: following the rules. Religions have been so successful in this substitution that even the non-religious have come to accept their definition. Thus, "morality" is widely viewed as archaic, arbitrary, oppressive. It is all these things by religion's false definition. Religious believers manage to ignore this because, generally speaking, many of the rules are in line with natural conscience. Prohibitions against killing, lying and stealing, for instance, lend legitimacy to the rules. (In real life there are always exceptions, which is one reason a living conscience is superior to any list of rules, no matter how exhaustive.) Sometimes though, and to varying extent, religion's rules run counter to the voice of conscience. Then the believer must choose. Typically, these choices are faced by young children, who are in no position to resist religious pressure to give preference to rules over conscience. They are actively encouraged to distrust their inner knowing. They are told that the voice of their conscience is actually Satan trying to lead them astray! Eventually, their awareness of conscience atrophies from lack of use and bothers them no more.

In light of the foregoing, it should surprise no one that religions have caused more death and suffering than any other single cause. In every case their atrocities were justified on "moral" grounds. If morality means following the rules, and you're the maker of the rules, then moral conduct is whatever you say it is. The Gods-who-write-books never speak audibly in the presence of witnesses. What if, somewhere along the line, the person claiming to speak for your God was actually schizophrenic, or worse, a psychopath? If you didn't have a conscience, you'd never know the difference. Who seriously thinks that possibility is too remote to consider?

No thanks to religions, but fortunately for us all, most people do have a conscience, even if it is barely functional. A few of us don't, and those people are called psychopaths. Religion can't cure them. For them, religion is just another tool to control others and get what they want. Religion's version of morality harms people of conscience and does nothing to curtail the predations of the conscienceless. Religions need to be called out and exposed for this, not protected from all criticism by law! The window for doing so appears to be closing.