shift in grouping of concepts under word definitons

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shift in grouping of concepts under word definitons

Postby wstein » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:58 pm

Disclaimer: not intended to pick on anyone in particular, trying to address the general issue here.

The issue of using different definitions has been a source of miscommunication for a long time. To me it seems as this difficulty has been getting 'worse' as people seem to be departing even from the traditional idea of a word definition. Maybe I just never had the right idea about definitions but I am under the impression that specific words were associated with specific concepts. True some words have always had rather wide latitude in scope (such as 'ego') and some words have always referred to multiple concepts (like 'love'). This of course has been the source of much confusion. I do note that word meanings can drift over time.

Lately I have noticed a 'rash' of what I would call misgrouping of concepts. When this happens a person assigns multiple concepts, each which previously had individual words for them and declares them all 'the same thing'. There may be some valid ground for this if in the past the concepts were not properly understood. In the many cases I have encountered lately (this year) none of them were due to an increased clarity of the concepts involved. After grouping the terms, that person then abandons all the 'extra' words, refusing to use them. Further, they insistently tell others that those words are not 'correct' as that those words referred to something that is the same as the other things in the new group. I seems to me, if they are really all the same, no one would dispute much which of equivalent words were chosen. Part of this regrouping seems to be for the explicit purpose of hiding some of the original concepts. Perhaps even to the point of remaining ignorant of them.

I know that was a bit confusing, so I am going to use an example to illustrate. Take the terms (metaphysical) 'energy', and 'spirit'. A person grouping in the way I am referring to, would declare the two terms to be the same thing, 'energy' in this example. Then they would refuse any use of the term 'spirit' by anyone. Any attempt to suggest that 'spirit' is different than 'energy' is met with "they are the same thing so that can't be true". A discussion of what they mean by 'energy' is met with a standard traditional definition backed by a experiences of common energy practices. That would be something along the lines of: a force that affects reality expressed by spiritual beings, it comes in several forms which have different effects on reality, use of energy is found in healing, non-contact sensing, psychic defense, and martial arts.

Almost as an after thought they add, "I have done all those things so am sure that's all there is to it. This raises a red flag for me. By the historical (and my) definitions that is more or less the definition of 'energy' and if they have indeed thoroughly explored those practices probably do have a pretty good grasp of it. This does seem to be the case most of the time. However, to my view they have completely neglected anything spiritual. They deny spiritual by preemptively deciding its the same as energy. This closing off seems from my view a purposeful attempt to remain ignorant of spirit. Being apathetic and not bothering to find out has been around forever. This is not some passive irrelevance I am talking about , but an active position and reactive defense of that ignorance.

I note here that this might be some trend in society or might just be a 'lesson' in my face to make sure I see it. I am curious if anyone else has noticed this lately. I would also like to know others thoughts on what is behind this behavior change in use of word definitions and the strong defending of it.
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shift in grouping of concepts under word definitons

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Re: shift in grouping of concepts under word definitons

Postby Xanth » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:07 pm

Well, I wouldn't call things a misgrouping of concepts... because that has the connotation that you believe your concepts are the "correct" concepts and everyone else's "misgroupings" are wrong.
You're 100% correct though that language is a huge barrier when it comes to discussing these ideas in a civil manner. I've seen discussions on forums de-evolve into pissing matches based entirely upon semantics. That becomes quite dysfunctional.

I'll just tell you what I prefer to do instead...
My goal when I enter a discussion is attempt to find common ground through identifying the metaphors someone uses to describe their own experiences with. From there, I can then relate to their metaphors and connect them to the metaphors that I use. At which point, I can now discuss ideas and concepts with that person using their own metaphorical base as a reference. It's worked really well and makes discussions much smoother when you're able to speak on a level which the other person is comfortable with.

For example, you use the terms 'energy' and 'spirit' in your own example... I would try to find out how they use an define those terms and then use those as a point of discussion with them.

As for the strong defending of it... people usually take it as their identity on the subject. That, and people tend to get very defensive when they get told that they're wrong about something. LoL The simple fact here is that nobody can really be wrong discussing a subject that can't be proven in the first place. hehe

I try to stay away from "historical" definitions as much as I can, as they come extra-loaded with definitions and preconceived notions of what they are and mean, but sometimes it's all someone knows. In the end, HOW they learn something is much less important than that they learn it at all. :)
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Re: shift in grouping of concepts under word definitons

Postby astralzombie » Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:04 pm

Forgive my butchering of this quote from General Patton. It is from a speech in which he was referring to the relationship between England and the U.S.

"I believe we are two great people, separated by a common language." That's pretty funny, I think.

I was raised a Catholic and I held some very dogmatic beliefs. When I became interested, to put it mildly, in the non physical reality, I had to rationalize a way around the term astral projection because it came with too much religious baggage. Baggage that was soul destroying according to my previous beliefs. The term, out of body experience, was the middle ground that I was able to find that allowed me to explore further without great fear of losing my soul.

I still prefer the term today but I use both OOBE and astral liberally now. I usually choose which term to use according to the context of the post that I am replying to.

I agree with Xanth and think that people get defensive over word choice only when they are 100% certain of their views.

I understand the difference between knowing and believing. Even though I have never personally seen an "alien" life form in the physical (At least I can't recall if I have), I still know that they exist. When I speak with such certainty, people like to remind me of the differences of belief and know. I don't mind though.

Most of the subject matter that we speak of here is so subjective the the dreaded term "personal truths" is always relevant here. So when someone speaks with authority and certainty in regards to certain subjects, we should all try to remember that we can't always know what someone else knows.


I'll go ahead and end this post before I drift too far. :)
Last edited by astralzombie on Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: shift in grouping of concepts under word definitons

Postby Jettins » Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:27 pm

wstein wrote:However, to my view they have completely neglected anything spiritual. They deny spiritual by preemptively deciding its the same as energy. This closing off seems from my view a purposeful attempt to remain ignorant of spirit.

It is what it is wstein, we won't always understand it. I just let them be, they have more important things to worry about they say.

wstein wrote:I am curious if anyone else has noticed this lately. I would also like to know others thoughts on what is behind this behavior change in use of word definitions and the strong defending of it.

I think it's actually very simple. People identify with certain words and we won't always know why. Sorry for the simplicity. I don't mind if people make up their own words or concepts, or redefine existing ones, as long as they try to explain in detail what they mean at some point.
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Re: shift in grouping of concepts under word definitons

Postby astralzombie » Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:53 pm

I would also add that when we are completely certain of something yet someone doesn't appear to agree, we sometimes assume that they are misunderstanding our word choice or that they are using words incorrectly.
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Re: shift in grouping of concepts under word definitons

Postby Jettins » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:01 pm

Yeah. At the end of the day I'll rather give more weight to someone who creates their own words from experience if necessary, no matter how flimsy this experience may "appear" to be, than someone that is simply concerned on the "proper' use of them.
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Re: shift in grouping of concepts under word definitons

Postby wstein » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:42 pm

Thanks for the replies so far.

I take it from the responses so far that no one else has noticed a dramatic shift in grouping of concepts and the shifting of terms that apply to them.

At this point I am focused not on differences in use or definitions of specific words. What strikes me as (recently) different is the 'overly inclusive' grouping followed by a reactionary dismissal of other terms that might (possibly) apply to part of that which was grouped. The groupings are ones I have not encountered before.

I have noticed a large number of them recently (while others have not apparently). This suggests either a message for me or that it's a reaction to something about me or what I am doing. It would be more clear if the grouping declaration was after something I said. But in most cases I arrived at a topic (thread) after the new grouping had already been stated (or assumed). Since I don't believe coincidences are random, I am trying to work out whats up (processing on it).
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