Hide background
READ THIS!

Welcome to the Otherkinphenomena forum.

You really have to follow these instructions! Instructions will update as you progress.

If you wish to post on, or access most of the content of our forum and our community, please click here to register first, then follow the instructions below. If you have already registered, please log in, in the above "Hello There, Guest!" box.

Thanks for understanding and see you around.



Post Reply 
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Do words have "absolute" meanings?
Rixem
Member is Offline
In an Ongoing Existential Crisis
Kintype: Unsure
Otherkin: Yes
Gender: I Don't Understand Gender
Reputation: 0
Posts: 120
Points: 738.00
Contribution: tick 

.
Post: #1
Do words have "absolute" meanings?
Bear with me.

I've seen a lot of discussion around the definitions of certain words.
The two major camps seem to be:
A- words need to have a specific definition so we all know what we're talking about, otherwise what's the point of words
B- words can mean different things to different people

Since languages were invented by humans (not inherent to nature), I think there's no such thing as absolute meanings of words. I imagine we don't have enough words in all the collective languages of the world to perfectly describe every single experience, feeling, object, etc.

But also, I think we need words anyway. We may not be able to describe things perfectly, but we can try our best to explain what we mean.

I remember this scene in Avatar the Last Airbender where an old man tells Aang something like "the biggest illusion of all is the illusion of separation" & I had never thought of that before, but it makes a lot of sense. A lot of times, there's no distinct "this or that" in nature, but we have to come up with a simple way of describing it, so we try to put things into categories.

An example that comes to mind is colors. We (most humans) see visible light as a spectrum. Color exists, but the concept of "purple" for example is made up by people so we can describe what we experience. There's no specific point in nature where a color ceases to be "purple" and begins to be "blue". For this reason, the concept of "purple" did not always exist; What we now call "purple" used to be considered part of "blue" at one point. Eventually, someone saw the need to distinguish them.

Two people could look at the exact same color, & one may call it purple & the other blue, & neither would be "wrong" per se. But also neither would be 100% "right". Because "purple" & "blue" are just categories we made up since it's impossible to name the infinite visible shades of light.

So I think sometimes words shouldn't be taken as "this is this & that's it", but rather as someone doing their best within the limits of language to share their experience with others. Especially when talking about things that aren't well-understood.

(If anyone's curious what my PFP is, I had a dream I saw mother nature once & she looked like this.)
2022-11-17 18:45
Find
Quote
Give Thanks
Elinox
Member is Offline
Professional Pirate
Kintype: Lupine & Feline
Otherkin: Yes
Gender: chaotic good
Reputation: 2
Posts: 2,538
Points: 10902.00
Contribution: tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick 

.
Post: #2
RE: Do words have "absolute" meanings?
Depends on the word.

To go off your color example, if I say something is "purple" everyone who understands English knows, at least the family of colors, I'm referring to. It's not green and it's not red, those are different. Yes, there are various shades of purple and everyone's going to have a default they think of when you say "purple" (for example: mine is a deep, royal purple). However, the color itself is defined and understood. There's no (sorry for the pun) grey area.

And to be fair, there are usually several, accepted, definitions of most words. That's how we get synonyms.

For example, if I say "cat" you're automatically going to know what animal I'm talking about. However, do I mean a big cat? A black cat? A specific breed of cat? You understand the meaning, but not the specifics. Which is why describing what you're talking about, particularly as it relates to 'kin experiences, is so important.

We all understand the general gist of the terms, but expanding on that to actually describe it is much more useful.

[Image: sGaXcqG.png]
Banner by me. If you want one too, see here.

"You're the best kind of crazy." -Murphy, The Dresden Files
2022-11-18 16:33
Find
Quote
Give Thanks
Rixem
Member is Offline
In an Ongoing Existential Crisis
Kintype: Unsure
Otherkin: Yes
Gender: I Don't Understand Gender
Reputation: 0
Posts: 120
Points: 738.00
Contribution: tick 

.
Post: #3
RE: Do words have "absolute" meanings?
(2022-11-18 16:33)Elinox Wrote:  Depends on the word.

True. The ones can come to mind are periodic elements, those are pretty set in stone since there's a specific number of subatomic particles in each type to the best of my knowledge.

(2022-11-18 16:33)Elinox Wrote:  To go off your color example, if I say something is "purple" everyone who understands English knows, at least the family of colors, I'm referring to. It's not green and it's not red, those are different. Yes, there are various shades of purple and everyone's going to have a default they think of when you say "purple" (for example: mine is a deep, royal purple). However, the color itself is defined and understood. There's no (sorry for the pun) grey area.

I'd have to argue that there is a gray area with color (and with most descriptive words).
It's hard to mistake green for purple since they're not next to each other on the visible light spectrum. There are several other "categories" we've placed between them. But things are different when we're comparing 2 colors that don't have a commonly accepted category between them yet.

[Image: url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwallp...AdAAAAABAD] (not sure if this pic will post)
In a blue to purple gradient, there's no specific point where the color stops being purple & starts being blue. In the future, maybe we'll need to make yet another box for the color in between purple and blue. But for now, there's no widely accepted box. So the color right between blue & purple is both & neither.

If we put that color next to purple, we'll call it blue. If we put that same color next to blue, we'll call it purple. Even though the color doesn't change.

(If anyone's curious what my PFP is, I had a dream I saw mother nature once & she looked like this.)
(This post was last modified: 2022-11-18 17:50 by Rixem.)
2022-11-18 17:49
Find
Quote
Give Thanks
Post Reply 


Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)