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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

The Word is Not the Thing

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C550866538/E1870404080

Sometimes we forget that language isn't reality

If I say the word "bike," it is going to mean something completely different to everyone who hears. Even if I specify "That blue bike propped up against the third tree from the left," the meaning is completely different if you are standing next to me than if you were facing me. Even if we agree exactly on which bike is the bike under discussion, the word "bike" will trigger a completely different set of thoughts and memories for each of us, even if they overlap slightly on this this specific bike.

It is these overlaps and contextual landmarks that make language work. But language is only an approximation of reality, not reality itself.

Take a word like "faith" for example. To me, it means the acknowledgment of Deity and how one approaches that Deity. To a conservative Christian, "faith" means only their particular flavor of Christianity and nothing else. Which is true? That is where it gets confusing. In each case, there are subtexts and assumptions underlying the word that radically change it's meaning depending on who is talking, who they are talking to, and when they are talking.

Posted: Thu - August 4, 2005 at 07:04 PM

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A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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