“A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the first word you thought of,” by Burt Bacharach.
In my post, Day 90 In the Pursuit of Love, I raised the question what does death mean to you. As I expected, I got answers that differed from my definition. I asked people to do this because the only thing I am certain of is my uncertainty. I look at the invention of language written/spoken as one of the most liberating and destructive forces on our planet.
Kids are committing suicide because of words typed by someone else that show up on their computer screens. Wars are fought because someone said there is a boundary between my country and yours and you crossed that imaginary line — nasty words are exchanged and then…. People are distorting words of love in holy books into words of anger and hate.
So which saying is true: “Your words cut like a knife.” or “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.” I believe it is whichever you believe.
If someone calls me a fat, ugly, stupid cow — do I laugh or do I cry? It depends on if I believe these words to be fact or not. It is my belief that gives them power.
When I looked up synonyms for the word quote — I found words like: cutting, extract, and passage. These words are all supposed to mean the same thing. What if I gave 10 people the word cutting and told them to write down their definition. I might get answers like:
a snipped piece of plant
what a teenager does with a knife to their arms so that they can feel something and avoid suicide
biting words that were said to hurt
So what if you read this word in a book that is important to you. Are you certain you are interpreting the word as it was meant by the writer? I took a poetry class. I often thought what the other person wrote was beautiful but I was often uncertain if I interpreted their words as they intended. After they explained the poem, I very often said, “Oh, THAT’S what you meant.” I wish I could ask the people who wrote books hundreds or even thousands of years ago — what did you actually mean by that?
BUT THAT’S THE SAME THING
I was having a discussion with my college roommates. A question was asked and my answer was: submarine or sub. So what was the question? A second person answered to the same question: torpedo. Do you think it is the same question or have you changed your mind? The third person answered: hoagie. Now what was the question?
The question was what do you call a sandwich of veggies like lettuce and tomato with thin slices of meat and a condiment placed on a long tube-like loaf of bread.
Have you ever argued with someone to find out in the end you were arguing about something you agreed on but were using different words?
I could tell by the look on a new student’s face that I had offended him when I called him a maniac. Another student also saw the look and laughed as she explained to him that it was a compliment. That I meant he threw everything he had into his work and I was pleased with this over the top devotion.
Today’s Intention: Not assume I KNOW what you are talking about and not assume I KNOW what someone was thinking when they wrote what they wrote.
I think you are all cool. Now it’s up for you to decide if I mean you need a sweater or you are neat/groovy/chic.
What do you call your tube-like sandwiches? Any funny stories about a language difference? Do you lean more toward name calling destroys you or that the person calling you names needs to get a life or a therapist or both?
I hope whatever you hear or read today comes from a place of love.