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literalism

meaning and spells

Venerated words.
The ideas we form and choices we make are misdirected when different frames of meaning are unconsciously mixed - there may be an epidemic in our minds, and one too in our souls, but even if so these are not the same. When feeling certain we know what things mean we are at our most vulnerable to deceptions and misunderstanding.
edited: 8 Nov 2021, written: 6 May 2018.
1.

Here in a foreign tongue I can barely speak, but even in silence language is inescapable. Asleep or awake my mind fills itself with conversation, constructing models of reality to frame the thoughts that emerge from the wondering void. It's neither madness nor magic to imagine what we mean; rehearsing is the only way to make sense of things and put them right.

Words are dumb, assumptions muddying feelings, and logic too. On the other side of their looking glass it may appear that I am mad.
2.

Communication is primitive, fundamental. Every being, in engaging with its world, communicates with others, however unconnected they might seem, and each responds whether understanding what they mean or not. In the primordial soup some wriggling thing unknowingly spoke and its environment replied. In the beginning was the word - just not a word that we would recognize.

Presence breeds reactions and an environment is born. In signs and significance life discovers a use.
3.

Life needs awareness to make choices - to survive - an awareness striving for fulfillment. How else could it be. Each being is set apart through the essential singularity of this. Built from inherited codes, awareness is bootstrapped, converting whatever the being can recognize into a measure of significance for it, by matching current sensations to prior experiences; from biology a meta-biology emerges, a psychology of some sort. Psychological-frames correlate to biological-expressions, and biological-expressions correlate to psychological-frames; hormones no more create love than love creates hormones.

Body and mind, the wax and its form, only in imagination can these be divided.
4.

Opposing statements can both true: colour does not exist and yet obviously it does; the mind does not exist and yet obviously it does. As the physicist Niels Böhr said: "opposites are not contradictory but complementary." No choice then is required; abstract concepts and concrete descriptions coexist in different language-frames, parallels in metaphorical and literal expressions. No mutually understood communication can take place without establishing a common reference frame of perception and sense - no trivial thing. As well as the mind and the soul, other common and significant groups are often conflated through category error. These errors, like trojan horses, install deceptions and confusion into understanding and decisions.

Psyche was named, the breath of life, animating bodies, abandoning remains, yet it is life that commands breath, not breath life.
5.

Words have grown increasingly powerful now that literacy has pushed aside native, phrasal language. It's often hard to see their point and easy to get lost in them but words delight us. And the literate revere them. Increasingly, as we depend upon the maps that they represent, they are being accepted as the territory itself, and the illiterate, no longer having a voice, are left with nothing, other than to contemplate the divergence of wisdom from our scriptures.

I believe in reality, yet I choose to have faith, in what I'm not sure but the hope feels good.
6.

Nuance is central. Words are just noise or marks on a page, the only meaning they have is given them by you and I. They map the things we find important. Personal, and ambiguous, they readily get entangled, and when they do questions and answers begin to revolve, trapping us in vicious circles; their connections suddenly unclear, we lose sight of where we are. It's meaning that makes stuff matter. But meaning has to be negotiated; reasoning can only support the search.

Words are easy reality is hard. Relating is vital, love is immortal, only death is binary.
7.

To serve the dream of power, priests and rulers cloaked the world in spiritual language, annexing dreams of a heaven on Earth in their literal interpretations of scripture and law. Countries were drawn around our feudal state, with terror not enlightenment, and on its ruin, with hope crippled by war, a new faith took root: scientism. Yet science has no need for faith - faith only corrupts it; science is simple and absolute, neither divine nor human.

A crow lands in a tree, a large piece of bread in her beak; that branch slopes. Unsuited she tries another but that's too narrow so, placing her prize on a sprig, she adjusts her place, and grasps it: a lesson learned.
8.

Whatever chemistry life first stepped through, matters of meaning remain distinct from the temporal struggles of biology and extending beyond boundaries of conception and death. In all things interpretation is inescapable:- whoever speaks it, the word of Man is not the Word of God; the Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao. Whether in universities, temples, mosques, or churches, whenever an ineffable soul is imagined as being chained to the machinations of biology and its meta-constructs, the meditations on it are conflicted with lures of power.

In suicidal self belief at war with fundamentalism, science gazes into the abyss, leaving reason behind.
9.

Who can say if we have any greater ability to successfully direct the development of our species than others have to direct theirs. It seems clear we have less than we might believe, but whatever attempts we do make to do so are crippled when we do not recognize and value the different language-frames we use as we try, as it is these that guide our choices by framing our perception.

When we can we will choose whether or not there is free-will.

ψ  on being heard

complementarity


Niels Bohr, a Danish physicist who received the Nobel Prize for his foundational contributions to Quantum theory, conceived the Principle of Complementarity - that singular items could at the same time possess apparently mutually exclusive properties - after realizing that light behaved like both waves and particles. His motto was: "contraria non contradictoria sed complementa sunt" - contradictions are not contradictory but complimentary. Regarding meaning, he wrote: "We are suspended in language in such a way that we cannot say what is up and what is down."

category errors


Many groups of categories are commonly conflated, leading to errors in thought and reason that are hard to detect. They include:- the mind and the soul; health and wellbeing; culture and grace; science and religion; justice and law, freedom and licence; art and philosophy; reality and virtuality.

Category error, Wikipedia.



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