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A Word Has No Meaning.

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posted on May, 23 2012 @ 12:38 AM
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“When an idea is wanting, a word can always be found to take its place.”
Goethe.

I admire and enjoy Goethe very much. It goes against my taste to disagree with him, but in this case I must. A word, a single word, could never be used to manifest an idea, because a word on its own means nothing. Hear me out...

Lets take the word “love.” First, let’s speak the word out-loud to ourselves.

“Love.”

Now lets examine what we meant by speaking the word. What meaning or understanding can we derive from what we just conveyed?

After a few minutes of introspection, it becomes apparent that no meaning can be derived from our previous statement. Why is this? It’s fairly simple, and one only needs to remember his 4th grade english to arrive at an answer. “Love,” a verb and a noun, means nothing without context. A verb is nothing if there is nothing doing it. A noun is nothing if it doesn’t have a context to exist in. A subject needs its predicate.

“Love,” as a word, is the name we’ve bestowed upon a group of many different feelings. Like every word, it is an attempt at classification—a desire to group many things under one banner for the purposes of optimizing how we convey and understand our concepts. Its meaning is apparent, but undefinable, simply because it cannot exist without context.

If we add “I” to the word “love” we get “I love.” Now the word can finally burst to life and it begins to display meaning. “Love,” in this context, is what “I” is doing. “I” is in the process of “loving.” We can derive from within the context of this statement that “love” is at this point positive and holds value to us, but there is still not enough meaning to arrive at any fact-based conclusions as to what its intended usage will be, unless this “I” is simply declaring that he possesses the ability to love.

If we add another word, and our statement becomes “I love to hate,” we begin to see the word in a brighter light, and we are able to start placing value not on the word love, but on its context and intended usage. In this case, we discover the usage of “love” is entirely negative, and no longer worth our time.

“Tongue,” on its own, means nothing. The word “God” means nothing. The word “Being” means nothing. The word “Love” means nothing. And although the meaning of the word may be apparent to ourselves, there is no way we can convey or understand the single word without context. Meaning can only be derived from a sentence, a subject with a predicate, or at the very least a clause.

(It could be argued that words of acknowledgment—ok, yes, no etc.—can have meaning on their own, but the line between word and sentence is blurred. Also, saying “pigeon” means nothing, although one could say “Pigeon” and point to a pigeon, but this is putting it into context. )

So why do we spend so much time finding meaning in a single word when we know there is none? Is metaphysics the study of the word or the study of the idea? I suggest we explore the context and intended usage of the word, before we explore the word itself.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading.





edit on 23-5-2012 by LesMisanthrope because: grammar sucks




posted on May, 23 2012 @ 12:47 AM
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What problems does this revelation solve?



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 12:51 AM
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You can't actually believe your own premise if you are asking our opinion since you used words to convey an idea.
Words obviously have meaning since our speech has meaning.

The word "tree" isn't a tree, but it makes you think of a tree.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 12:52 AM
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Originally posted by satron
What problems does this revelation solve?


Nothing at all. But what have we ever solved here?



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 12:53 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

I will give you what I believe is the best advice I can give. Stop thinking about meaning and go do something that makes you feel good. I stoped debating myself...and there are 3 of me's as I have a CT scan that shows an abnormaly large neural interconnection between Right and Left Brain Hemespheres as well as a Subconscious that not only has a sense of humor but I have an ability to access when it allows me to.

I used to ask...what is the reason I am Here? Why an I alive? Is there meaning to life?
GUESS WHAT? IT DOESN'T MATTER! The only thing that matters is using the time you have in what you consider the best possible use. In my case that is not only having fun but trying to help others on several levels...one of these levels is very dangerous and involves me working with the best of the Military...but I am "CIVILIAN" in the way the quotes denote. I have seen the best and the absolute worse in Humans. I have seen things that cannot be discussed here. I have also been shot and in return as a very Highly Advanced Vest kept me alive even though there was ballistic penetration because it was point blank....and I will never allow that to happen again....lying on the ground...angry on a level I have never felt before or since...I asked for my Rifle...and using a body part of one of my teams limb...balanced the weapon and eliminated the threat. How do I feel about that...HAPPY AS HELL IT WAS ME WHO GOT HIM!

So stop thinking and start LIVING! Ever since that day...and there have been day's similar to that over the decades...I am getting too old to do this anymore...EVERYTHING WAS BETTER! Food tasted better. Colors were amazing to look at...I still watch Sun rises and Sunsets. Go have fun! Split Infinity



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 12:53 AM
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Originally posted by MeesterB
You can't actually believe your own premise if you are asking our opinion since you used words to convey an idea.
Words obviously have meaning since our speech has meaning.

The word "tree" isn't a tree, but it makes you think of a tree.


True, I am aware of the limitations of language.

Which tree are you talking about?



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 12:54 AM
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Originally posted by SplitInfinity
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

I will give you what I believe is the best advice I can give. Stop thinking about meaning and go do something that makes you feel good. I stoped debating myself...and there are 3 of me's as I have a CT scan that shows an abnormaly large neural interconnection between Right and Left Brain Hemespheres as well as a Subconscious that not only has a sense of humor but I have an ability to access when it allows me to.

I used to ask...what is the reason I am Here? Why an I alive? Is there meaning to life?
GUESS WHAT? IT DOESN'T MATTER! The only thing that matters is using the time you have in what you consider the best possible use. In my case that is not only having fun but trying to help others on several levels...one of these levels is very dangerous and involves me working with the best of the Military...but I am "CIVILIAN" in the way the quotes denote. I have seen the best and the absolute worse in Humans. I have seen things that cannot be discussed here. I have also been shot and in return as a very Highly Advanced Vest kept me alive even though there was ballistic penetration because it was point blank....and I will never allow that to happen again....lying on the ground...angry on a level I have never felt before or since...I asked for my Rifle...and using a body part of one of my teams limb...balanced the weapon and eliminated the threat. How do I feel about that...HAPPY AS HELL IT WAS ME WHO GOT HIM!

So stop thinking and start LIVING! Ever since that day...and there have been day's similar to that over the decades...I am getting too old to do this anymore...EVERYTHING WAS BETTER! Food tasted better. Colors were amazing to look at...I still watch Sun rises and Sunsets. Go have fun! Split Infinity


Sorry I find it fun and I love exercising my mind so I never fall thought-poor. But thanks for the advice.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:00 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Dear LesMisanthrope,

I like Goethe, Moliere and Rousseau. Individual words have meaning beyond context; however, context allows for a greater understanding. Pain is a simple word, it represents a state of being, an emotion, feeling, however you wish to describe it. In the beginning was the word and the word was "I Am", one word in Hebrew and other languages. We dissected the one word and describe it using two concepts; but, the original was one word. Every word describes an idea and ideas can be broken into an infinite number of parts. The Chinese say the world in a grain of salt. My thoughts. Peace.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:00 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Do you see that the very fact that you can have an idea and use words to make me have that thought?
Sure it isn't always exactly right but it falls on you for not using the proper language to express your idea.

the fact that I can read your thread and understand it refutes your premise.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:01 AM
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Originally posted by MeesterB
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Do you see that the very fact that you can have an idea and use words to make me have that thought?
Sure it isn't always exactly right but it falls on you for not using the proper language to express your idea.

the fact that I can read your thread and understand it refutes your premise.


I used sentences, not a single word. So I didn't refute my own premise. I'm only asking questions, not pushing a dogma or trying to make you believe anything.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:04 AM
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What about this





posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:06 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

You misunderstand me. I am not saying not to exersize your mind as I enjoy that as well.

I am saying don't worry or make a major part of your thought process or constantly think to the point it effects you about things you have no control of.

Basically...you will be better off for it. The questions that you ask yourself as described here just lead to depression...if that is not how you react than by all means continue. Split Infinity



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:09 AM
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Originally posted by AQuestion
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Dear LesMisanthrope,

I like Goethe, Moliere and Rousseau. Individual words have meaning beyond context; however, context allows for a greater understanding. Pain is a simple word, it represents a state of being, an emotion, feeling, however you wish to describe it. In the beginning was the word and the word was "I Am", one word in Hebrew and other languages. We dissected the one word and describe it using two concepts; but, the original was one word. Every word describes an idea and ideas can be broken into an infinite number of parts. The Chinese say the world in a grain of salt. My thoughts. Peace.


Very good insights thank you. Insight is what I'm looking for.

I don't think individual words have meaning, rather the idea has the meaning. The word is an attempt to grasp that meaning. This, of course, is an assumption.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:12 AM
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Originally posted by SplitInfinity
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

You misunderstand me. I am not saying not to exersize your mind as I enjoy that as well.

I am saying don't worry or make a major part of your thought process or constantly think to the point it effects you about things you have no control of.

Basically...you will be better off for it. The questions that you ask yourself as described here just lead to depression...if that is not how you react than by all means continue. Split Infinity



I'm not Socrates. I'm not corrupting the youth here or hurting myself. I'm only doing what I enjoy: thinking. I would rather think about this than the day of work I have ahead of me tomorrow. I do appreciate your concern, however misguided I believe it is. Thank you.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:15 AM
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Words may not mean exactly the same thing for each individuals, but they do have enough universal meaning that people have an idea of what you're talking about.

I was looking for a quote from William Burroughs about his thoughts on how he thinks words censor the mind, but I can't find it.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:17 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Where you are wrong is in that we create context when none is given. Ask 20 people to think about the word "love". After several minutes ask them what they thought, you will get your context, and it will be different for everyone.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:20 AM
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Originally posted by satron
Words may not mean exactly the same thing for each individuals, but they do have enough universal meaning that people have an idea of what you're talking about.

I was looking for a quote from William Burroughs about his thoughts on how he thinks words censor the mind, but I can't find it.


Yes, very true.

But that's the problem of the word. It's buried under idiom, and we'd have to eliminate all the various usages of the word to discover its true worth. I'm trying to find out whether words have meaning, or are they just scratches on a piece of paper?

No quotes. I want to hear what you think.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:22 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

Perhaps I have misread you...but this seldom happens so on some level...my Subconscious is telling me that you are unhappy. Perhaps you are not admitting it to yourself. But although I could be wrong...the logic based upon why you chose this particular topic as well as how you respond is setting off an alarm bell deep inside me.

One of my jobs is work as a Problem Solver. Even though I am too old to be doing this in the field...I am still called on because I have an ability to sense things that others cannot. This is not a boast but a fact. When I read your posts as well as responses...I get this feeling that something is causing you to be slightly out of balance. I don't know you well enough to determine what that is but I am fairly confident on my relying on what my subsonscious allerts me to.

So...if you would like to discuss it privately...PM me. Split Infinity



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:22 AM
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Originally posted by OccamsRazor04
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Where you are wrong is in that we create context when none is given. Ask 20 people to think about the word "love". After several minutes ask them what they thought, you will get your context, and it will be different for everyone.


Absolutely and I agree. I completely avoided subjectivity on purpose. It is part of the problem. We must explore each individual context to find out the meaning and the intended usage.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 01:23 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Dear LesMisanthrope,



I don't think individual words have meaning, rather the idea has the meaning. The word is an attempt to grasp that meaning. This, of course, is an assumption.


Yes, the emotion is the beginning of words. We have feelings, our essence (Helen Keller being the proof) and we attempt to find symbols, words to describe the situation, the feeling, the emotion. We then attempt to further understand the word, the thought, the emotion and we break down the symbolism into thoughts, subsets of what we are learning. That is evolution of thought. The finding of deeper understandings and the creation of new words and new ways to describe things. Still, the root word had meaning beyond context, context allows us to understand the thought or meaning in greater detail. Or at least that is my thought on the matter.




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