Sunday, March 25, 2012

Language, Meaning and Values

language, meaning and values:

are we speaking the same language? of course yes, but still...

do we mean the same thing when using a word or phrase? or do our own individual personal value systems conflict or vary sometimes so as to lead to misunderstanding or worse? the language is not uniformly contained in every one of us. we all use it differently sometimes, indeed we could so define the word "individual" from this aspect.

everyone has their own values or interests, stemming from, to put it simply, first what they do want, second what they don't want, and last what they would hate having. people's values are not ever constant, they are subject to change. but primarily, as human beings, we physically need houses, food, clothes, sleep, etc. these are basic wants, but superficially, we may crave other, less important things, which differentiate personality, so that we can conclude that we are individuals. we form our own values. we speak of what we want. and we hope we can find others with the same values.

that is not to say that words can mean radically different things to different people, but even if only in a little way, context and meaning can differ, to create surprise when talking. everyone, though they may not have have written it down or thought about it at length, holds a list of personal vocabulary, not far down in the subconscious and not far from reach, a chart, if you like, of words they have thought about, ideas and concepts with values and meanings attached to each. one person might say something with happy positive associations in his or her own mind, but heard by another, invoke bad or scary thoughts. such is the abrasive nature of contact with different value systems.

but how did language develop in the first place? was it rapid or slow? such is the pace of change in the modern world that you might suspect it was always fast. and what is it in the sound of a word that triggers meaning in the minds of those who hear it and how was it that many people could agree on a meaning? does it show like mind for all those who can speak a language? is this inherent?

and what is a word, in the metaphysical sense? it exists in handwriting, in print, electronically in the internet, and in recordings. in the sum of all minds in reality, it is linked to meanings, images, actions, and perhaps even other structures of which we cannot yet identify.


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