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Is Misinterpretation Actually Possible?

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posted on Sep, 4 2016 @ 08:25 AM
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"We believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things — metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities." — Friedrich Nietzsche.

Have you ever been told by somebody else that you just "misinterpreted" something? If we are to define the word as "to interpret, explain, or understand incorrectly" as it is commonly understood, there are some issues with the term that need to be addressed.

The problem stems from the misconception that we all process information in the same way. If I pick up a yellow ball and say to you "I have a yellow ball, here it is" you probably think you can confirm my experience by noticing that I do indeed have a yellow ball in my hand. But how can we both confirm that the colour of the ball is exactly the same? For instance, how does one define or explain the colour yellow? You cannot directly explain it, if somebody has never seen yellow with their own eyes, then they cannot understand what you are attempting to refer to.

Just because you interpret information in a certain way does not mean that I interpret information in the same way. Just because I do not draw the same result when interpreting information does not mean I am wrong.

Yes, we do, to a certain degree, need to find some objectivity in our endeavours, otherwise we would never find common ground and work together to resolve issues. But to deny that knowledge and experience are subjective, is to deny reality itself. Ironic, is it not?




posted on Sep, 4 2016 @ 08:43 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

Yes, we can misinterpret.

Let me explain.

I worked for several years at a place where we helped kids who had specific types of learning disabilities. One of them was a difficulty in processing language.

In order for us to understand language, we have to realize that it is essentially all symbolic. When I type the word "chair," and we all read it, odds are that we all have a roughly similar mental image of familiar object pop into our heads that is attached to that collection of letters and phonemic sounds. But ... my mental image of the chair likely has subtle differences from yours and everyone else's. My chair might be a brown recliner. Your chair might be a certain, straight-backed kitchen chair you remember from your childhood. Someone else's might be a folding metal chair like you see in temporary auditorium set-ups ...

Any of these images of chair serve well enough that all of us know what a chair us, but at the same time, they all convey a set of subtle, shaded difference to our personal impressions and meanings of chair at the same time. My exact "chair" won'[t be yours or the next person's.

Now it gets more complicated.

As we go through life, our experiences attach memories and emotions to different words. I mentioned that certain, straight-backed kitchen chair for you for a reason. Maybe it was a chair from your beloved grandmother's kitchen. When you hear or see chair and that image pops up, it tends to drag with it all kinds of vaguely remembered and positive connotations and associations. For you, chair is a nice word although you may not be and likely aren't really consciously aware of WHY chair is a nice word.

It is when you begin to understand the power behind words and their symbolic, associative meaning that you can take charge of this. If you have ever read a certain member on this board who talks about words and power, he gets it. After working with kids who have trouble linking words and mental images to attach real meaning to language (which is how we comprehend it), I get it too. Once you understand it, you can take power over it. When words make you feel bad, it's because your mental associations with the images those words conjure are tricking you into thinking the words are bad. It's up to you to realize what's going on and analyze whether or not that's true.

So your personal internal images you associate with words can make you misinterpret a speaker's intent by making your perceive something as sinister when it isn't.



posted on Sep, 4 2016 @ 09:12 AM
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a reply to: ketsuko


It will be interesting as science gets more into mind-to-mind communication if those links get beyond what we express verbally or if we can directly sense the pure essence of a "chair"
as it exists without a shred of emotional baggage or physical description. May we learn that the physicality of the chair does not even exist and it is an allusion in our personal hologram created by consciousness?



posted on Sep, 4 2016 @ 09:52 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

Ghost, you seem pretty confident in your OP that you do believe misinterpretation is possible.

Why is your title questioning this concept you seem to be affirming?

When speaking of philosophical thought, everything is up to interpretation, therefore everything can be misinterpreted. This is precisely what gives the arts their depth, complexity and interwoven meaning.

Scientific endeavors are a wonderful anchor to the crazy statement above, however a scientist must also interpret his/her findings. by the same token, fact and fiction must exist in precisely that relationship with one another - that is to say, the facts of the matter will still have to be analyzed and understood by someone who can perceive their meaning. Through this action of perception, it is clear to see how anything from it can be taken with a grain of salt.



posted on Sep, 4 2016 @ 09:59 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

Misinterpretation happens all the time, this is why works of literature can seem ambiguous. Mis-perception is also quite common.



posted on Sep, 4 2016 @ 11:35 AM
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Misinterpretation, misperception, misdirection are all the classic components of a good intelligence operation.
For example, look at Graysuit ( Robert Hanson), he was able to misdirect his activities off on Jonathan Pollard first and then later on Aldrich Ames. Even his Soviet / Russian handlers didn't even know who he was for sure until the very end.

Misinterpretation is gigantic in Dealey Plaza, Pearl Harbor and the World trade Center / Pentagon.
People only believe what they want to believe and ignore the truth.
Organizations have been doing it to the general public since the beginning of time.

Just recently, look at Amos 6 for example, only the how is being questioned.
Not the who and why.

People get so caught-up in the hunt, they forget about the prey. And they always escape, unseen, unheard and unknown.

Buck


edit on 4-9-2016 by flatbush71 because: (no reason given)

edit on 4-9-2016 by flatbush71 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 4 2016 @ 11:51 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

I always understood interpretation is up to the interpreter. It can be logical, ill-logical, definite, vague, exact, accepted, absolute and/or correct.

As in using the phrase..."I believe in spirits"...whatever they are or arent, is "open to interpretation"...meaning it can be whatever the interpreter believes it to be.



posted on Sep, 4 2016 @ 05:59 PM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost



Have you ever been told by somebody else that you just "misinterpreted" something? If we are to define the word as "to interpret, explain, or understand incorrectly" as it is commonly understood, there are some issues with the term that need to be addressed.


Sometimes things that are *commonly understood* can be fundamentally wrong despite *collective agreement*. It was commonly understood at some point in our past that the Sun (yellow ball) revolved around the Earth. This belief arose from observing the sun's movement around the earth throughout the day. Objectively, to this very day, we *physically* observe this to be true, yet *subjectively* understand that we are misinterpreting reality with our eyes - our minds intellectually understand the true nature of the Earth's rotation and at the same time understands the illusion (contradiction) we observe is caused by our physical senses.

Why do children often choose the colour yellow when depicting the sun in artwork? What colour is the sun when you gaze at it? For me, it appears white. Who is misinterpreting something here in this situation...?



Just because you interpret information in a certain way does not mean that I interpret information in the same way. Just because I do not draw the same result when interpreting information does not mean I am wrong.


I agree. Physicist David Bohm once stated: “What we take to be true is what we believe… What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.”

We are conditioned to put things into boxes. Humans also have the innate need to categorize in order to make sense of the world which arose due to our survival needs since our caveman days.

We use words as Nietzsche suggested as metaphors to describe and give meaning to something that in essence has no meaning beyond the words used to do so. If you remove labels (words) to identify or describe an object such a tree, the tree becomes just an image within your mind without any meaning. It's just there. It becomes not even an object within one's vocabulary. One cannot even use the word "object" in this case because the word itself implies some sort of *thing*. Then again, one cannot even use the word "thing" because it contradicts the entire philosophy I'm trying express.

When anything in existence is seen in this light: It is what it is. Perhaps then subjectivity and objectivity is reconciled.

I honestly don't know. It's a tricky philosophy - all mind games as I see it.



Yes, we do, to a certain degree, need to find some objectivity in our endeavours, otherwise we would never find common ground and work together to resolve issues. But to deny that knowledge and experience are subjective, is to deny reality itself. Ironic, is it not?


I starred every comment above my post because it reflects the crux of your thread. We each interpret reality in our own unique way, including how we each interpreted the intended meaning of your thread or what you were going for, and at the same time try to find common ground in order to reconcile the two by projecting our subjective ideals revolving around the topic. In other words, you may interpret what I have stated here in my response as apple and oranges which would be poetic considering the nature of the topic. After all, the term arose from the very nature of misinterpreting matters.

My personal philosophy dictates the following: What one believes (possible or not possible) is all that matters, for the life we have experienced (carved out for ourselves) to date and will experience in the future, is a reflection of our deepest beliefs (subjectivity). And as we can all see, we each lead different lives despite having many common events such as birthdays, Mondays, planet Earth, etc. However, the experience we have on planet Earth in our day to day lives remains unique to all despite global events.

edit on 4-9-2016 by Involutionist because: Grammar and punctuation SUCKS!



posted on Sep, 6 2016 @ 01:14 AM
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I am lost as to how anyone could even question whether misinterpretation is possible..?

Is there someone out there that thinks it isn't??


I don't know... I'm married to someone of a different culture and language, so misinterpretation is a constant in our lives.
Our experiences, values, and concept associations are so vastly different that it takes a lot fo effort and a lot of words, a lot of precision, explanation and description (and a hefty amount of body language) to vehicle ideas from one mind to another efficiently. We don't expect them to get across perfectly as a copy-paste, but as close as possible anyway. But it takes work and willingness to be receptive, and push your mind out of it's familiar pathways.



posted on Sep, 6 2016 @ 03:16 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

Your example reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh, his "Yellow house" and the chairs he painted for himself and Gauguin.
Van Goghs dream of a shared artist community at the Yellow house only lasted a few months.

In the art world there was some energy leftover from Goethe's 1810 theory of colors.
There is color resonance that the human eye cannot distinguish, good example is "patch of grass" by Van Gogh.



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