What something Is vs. What it is Called

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posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 09:40 PM
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I've had this simple thought/understanding rolling around my mind for many years and I thought I'd share it tonight.

There was an interesting thread started earlier about why parents lie to their children www.abovetopsecret.com..., and it made me want to point this out.

Ninety nine percent of all the "lies" that children are told by their parents and all other adults around them, are told inadvertently and without malice. We do however all suffer because of it for the rest of what we call our lives.

It goes a something like this:

Daddy what is this:


Lie: Son, that's a tree.
Truth: Son, we call that a tree.

Some might sigh at this observation and see it as an insignificant distinction.

It is however at the root of all the conditioning and eventual dependence to mind made concepts that most never manage to shed. Thus going through life thinking that everything in the universe is what they call things, including themselves.



[edit on 8/30/2008 by schrodingers dog]




posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 09:56 PM
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Technically, it’s a picture of a tree or light particles or a shadow of the thing (sorry, couldn’t resist). But, I may not be the one to ask because I still feel awful for lying to my kids about Santa and the tooth fairy because they are somehow a part of "childhood". My thinking we assign names to things so we can communicate better, as in the river is a mile to the north past the big tree. Those conditioned illusions help us stay alive.



posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 09:57 PM
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I was thinking RECENTLY something close to what you're getting at...

Why is it that a fictional movie at the theater or on dvd or on video or on T.V. has stated in advance of seeing it, in however ppl would go about doing so, LIE to us that the movie contains violence?

LOL. That's the biggest damn lie since it isnt REAL violence. It's all acting! How does this lie get pass ppl? And think of the ppl who buy into it in how they are about it? And certain even say contains some sex. The problem with sex is of course it contains sex if a male and a female are a sex since males and females are shown in it. But! If it is getting at sex, as in, sexual intercourse, then it's a damn lie because them actors dont be having sexual intercourse for one, but even if they did it definitally isnt shown in a rated R movie... So it's like why LIE?!

[edit on 30-8-2008 by Mabus]

Plus, why do ppl have a problem with nudity when it's all our natural clothing mother nature gave us? If I had kids I wouldnt have a problem with them seeing nudity in a movie and definitely wouldnt have a problem with them seeing FAKE violence in a movie. And if mother nature didnt want human kids or human teens seeing ppl having sexual intercourse mother nature would have kept kids and teens with sealed eye lids like baby hamsters till they were adult.

[edit on 30-8-2008 by Mabus]



posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 10:06 PM
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Originally posted by Pamie
My thinking we assign names to things so we can communicate better, as in the river is a mile to the north past the big tree. Those conditioned illusions help us stay alive.


That is true enough.
But only IF as we express express them we are aware that they are always in fact mere verbal approximations uttered for the reason of practicality and convenience. To attempt to derive any "real" meaning or "understanding" or "knowledge" from these appellations, as most of us remain in the habit of doing since childhood, is meaningless as they will always be based on self-conceptualized illusions and foundations.



posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 10:50 PM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


Hey, I agree with you, but should add that you can drag them kicking and screaming from the cave, and you’ll be lucky if they even notice the tree outside. Then, when you turn your back, half of them will run back in to the darkness to live with the shadows while the others will want to sue you for radically changing their perspective. Very few will “see” beyond the tree. It’s too easy to settle on its “meaning” because someone told you X is X. I do think there are (and have been) cultures that have had more philosophical ideas of the physical worlds (even Native Americans come to mind). When I think along these lines, I wonder about the concept of ownership. We give things names and outfit them with meaning, and then we become consumed by owning more things. I’m guilty of this.

I’ve heard as one gets older and wiser that things do not mean as much and other ideas are valued more (friendship and health). So, being that I’m in my late thirties, I can only guess at the transformation that occurs. Is it experience that breaks that need to find meaning in the physical? Is it loss of the physical and the deterioration of the physical self that redefines the importance of the physical naming/meaning/ownership? I guess I’ll find out in due time. However, I do think our naming of the world and its things (and our assumption that these things are for our own pleasure) does shape our human experience.

I’m a flawed human in search of meaning with little expectations of learning the truth for a long time, if ever. But, I’m okay with that. Or it's really late, and I should go to bed. Night.

[edit on 30-8-2008 by Pamie]



posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 10:57 PM
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reply to post by Pamie
 


Very well said. I think Mr. Tolle would be proud of us, that is if he were anything but our own voice in our heads.

We can try non-relativism and a non-dual existence after breakfast.



posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 11:10 PM
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Because I'm not always good with words, I found this quote from one of my favorite "teachers" on this subject:



Truth is not something “out there.” It is not something you will find as an object of perception or as a temporal experience. Reality is neither inside of you nor outside of you. Both “outside” and “inside” are not getting to the point. They both miss the mark because outside and inside are conceptual constructs with no inherent reality. They are simply abstract points of reference. Even words like “you,” or “me,” or “I,” are nothing more than conceptual points of reference existing only in the mind. Such concepts may have a practical value in daily life, but when assumed to be true they distort perception and create a virtual reality, or what in the East is called the world of samsara.

adyashanti.org


[edit on 8/30/2008 by schrodingers dog]



posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 08:58 AM
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I think it's okay to call a tree a tree. A tree is a very basic object at the level of perception and interaction on which humans relate to the world. This level may not be fundamental - you could say that 'treeness' is an emergent property of atoms and molecules in a certain arrangement, or of quantum fluctuations in spacetime. But that doesn't tell anyone, not even Steven Hawking or Lee Smolin, any more about our shared idea of treeness than the more general concept to which we have attached that label.

Chemistry and biology can tell us a lot about a tree as a process and help us elaborate the description of it. This new knowledge may extend but doesn't change the basic concept of treeness.

Even looking at a tree in a mystical or magical way (as part of the planetary web of life or an element of the interactive cosmos or a dwelling-place of dryads, or imagining it has a 'tree-soul'), it's still what we know as a 'tree'.

So I think 'tree' is a fairly uncontroversial label for a tree.

For Plato and other philosphers in his tradition, the label is so fundamental it comes before the actual tree - the label is attached to the mystical ideal of treeness, which he called the 'form' of a tree, and which he believed exists in every human mind, even before that human has ever seen a real tree. According to Plato, it is to this form, rather than to any individual, specific tree, that our minds attach the labels tree, baum, ruk, or whatever name you call a tree in your native language.

Other philosophers, whose motto is 'there is nothing in the mind that was not first in the senses' would say that the concept 'tree' was built up in our minds from our first-hand experience of trees and other people's descriptions of them, which we fit together with our experience in order to come up with the concept we label 'tree'.

It makes no difference either way, because the label 'tree' covers all and every aspect of treeness that the human mind can possibly imagine. If we call it a tree - without adding any abstracting or analogizing qualifications (adjectives) like systems tree or tree of life - then it's a tree.

But.

There are other names you can call a tree: shade provider, animal habitat, scaffolding for epiphytes, oxygen factory, carbon sink. These are all accurate descriptions of a tree but they are not complete. They abstract some aspect of treeness and highlight it. In doing so, these labels may temporarily restrict or distort treeness in our minds.

This, I think, is where the trouble starts. Because when you concentrate on one aspect of an object, give it a label and ignore the rest, you get into the habit of thinking about the object more in terms of that one aspect than the whole of it.

This abstraction process can go on forever. And as the abstractions get more and more rarified, they tend to lead us away from truth altogether.

Thus euphemism, marketing-speak and politically-correct speech.

When we say someone is 'no better than they should be', what we really mean is that we think they're rather worse than they should be. We've abstracted 'no better than one should be' from the larger concept that contains it, the concept 'worse than one could be'.

When marketers say 'we are here to serve you', they've abstracted one aspect of what they do - aiming to please - and flipped it over to make it look as if they're in business to make you happy, not to make themselves money.

And here's a woeful but ultimately undeniable truth: calling a mentally, physically or socially handicapped person 'special' merely abstracts the idea that such folk are rarer than 'normal' ones from the larger concept of their condition. It doesn't alter the reality of their condition one whit, though we may hope it leads to them being more easily accepted and better treated.

It's when restrictive labels get mistaken for reality that we find ourselves lying, at least by omission, and building up a false picture of the world that may encourage us to blind ourselves to reality - to the the tree that is, wholly and simply, a tree.

Now consider the label 'human'. It is much more complex than the label 'tree'. It encompasses many more attributes. And if we focus too much on any single attribute for which we have coined a label - soldier, comedian, snob, cripple, Christian, glutton, sexpot, freeloader, superstar - we may end up dehumanizing the human being we're referring to.

As long as we stick close to basic, consensual human reality, a tree is a tree is a tree.

When we start using our powers of abstraction, things get messier.

But then, that's how we think - through the formation of abstract concepts.

So I don't see any possibility of changing any of this, ever. It is what it is. It is what we are.

[edit on 31-8-2008 by Astyanax]



posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 05:56 PM
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The OP reminds me a lot of Taoism and Zen Buddhism. The very first (and most critical) chapter of the "Tao te Ching" says the same thing, in different words:


The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.


acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu...


Despite all the nonchalance regarding ancient texts like this, what they say is profound and will greatly alter the way you see your world every day if you understand them. In fact, anyone who doesn't take great interest in the 81 paragraph-sized chapters of the "Tao te Ching" just doesn't understand what it's about.



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 04:11 PM
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Originally posted by schrodingers dog
Because I'm not always good with words, I found this quote from one of my favorite "teachers" on this subject:



Truth is not something “out there.” It is not something you will find as an object of perception or as a temporal experience. Reality is neither inside of you nor outside of you. Both “outside” and “inside” are not getting to the point. They both miss the mark because outside and inside are conceptual constructs with no inherent reality. They are simply abstract points of reference. Even words like “you,” or “me,” or “I,” are nothing more than conceptual points of reference existing only in the mind. Such concepts may have a practical value in daily life, but when assumed to be true they distort perception and create a virtual reality, or what in the East is called the world of samsara.

adyashanti.org


[edit on 8/30/2008 by schrodingers dog]


I think you are pretty good with words :-)

this is really interesting - the naming of things

what we can do with words is amazing - also what we can't do

semantics - how our brains developed to use language - or the role language played in forming our brains - and into the subject of symbolism

I read an article recently that described the role language plays in mental illness - how the actual manifestation of certain conditions is different in different cultures - and how that culture's language plays a definite role

since my just describing a really cool article doesn't contribute much to this thread - I'll try my level best to find it again -

it's out there somewhere...



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 04:25 PM
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Tree is still a pretty harmless label. See what happens when we start stacking labels upon labels and then start talking about something pre-supposing 10000s of things.

This can be seen in the Forum Decision 2008. The kids over there are throwing around emotionally charged labels at each other without even knowing what they essentially mean.



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 04:30 PM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 


I heard of this before. I think its called new speak or something along those lines. Kinda like "This is not a recession, its a slow down.

In a situation like the tree for instance, this is enabling our children from developing their own opinions on the world around them. They need the room for doubt. Today, everything just is, no need for explanation. Its sad.



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 04:45 PM
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It goes a something like this:

Daddy what is this:


Lie: Son, that's a tree.
Truth: Son, we call that a tree.


Yes, but isn't the process of naming, precisely by being indistinguishable from observing (try NOT picturing a rose when you hear the word "rose" - it's impossible), already understood as being IMPLIED in the process of observing the "being", the "essence" of what is being named?
I mean, it's like a rule of a game.
Isn't it?
We KNOW there is a difference between being and being-named, but for all practical purposes we go along with the "game".



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 05:05 PM
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reply to post by AdAstra
 


Well the very awareness you note and describe and to which I point to creates it's own slight natural shift whilst manifesting.
The OP is not really meant as a mantra or an answer.
It is one of many little windows around us, one by one, as we become aware of them, a little extra light might shine in, or it might not.



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 07:14 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
Tree is still a pretty harmless label


Not always for the tree.



posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 06:08 PM
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Those labels for things are pretty useful in getting our kids through their lives. It's much easier once they have learned labels for "juice," "water," and "milk" to give them what they want than when they are pointing at their mouth and/or making drinking motions and we're trying to figure out what they want.

Although, as discussed in your other thread, the words we teach children may define, guide, and possibly limit their thinking, restricting their thought processes is not the intention when we give them words. We intend to give them the tools with which to easily communicate with us, and to understand us when we communicate with them.

Eventually as we grow up we learn that there are as many answers to "what is a tree" as there are people to ask the question of. It's shade, it's something to climb, it's something to build a treehouse or hunter's blind in, it's a place of safety from a charging bull, it's a source of food or medicine, it's pretty ... Even though we all call it a tree, the word tree doesn't really limit all the associations we may have for "tree" in our own minds because our mind links all of the experiences and concepts we have which are connected to trees with the word "tree."

Another thought that I ponder at times. Do colors look the same to everyone? If you show me something blue, I will say that it's blue, and so will you. But that's because we were both taught in childhood that that particular color (or group of shades within a color) is blue. Does it actually look the same to you as it does to me?

I think perhaps not, because some people put together color combinations or like colors that look simply awful to me. Rather than thinking they just have poor taste, I think that perhaps the color(s) in question don't look the same to them as they do to me.

I wonder how amazed we might be if we could truly see through someone else's eyes or be inside someone else's head, just for a few minutes. I wonder how many differences of perception there are between individuals, and how those differences may affect our attitudes and behavior.





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