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Re: Language

Oct 21, 1996 09:52 PM
by Bee Brown

At 05:05 PM 20/10/96 -0400, you wrote:
>Dr. A.M.Bain wrote:
>> Was it because the 19th century writers really did see a hierarchy
>> dominated by white males as the "natural order" of things?  If they did,
>> we might have to wonder just how much of the "core" theosophical
>> writings are suspect in their assertion of eternal truths - unless of
>> course this form of domination or control IS the natural order of
>> things.
>	It is my contention that there are concepts that are so ingrained into
>a culture that those who belong to the culture don't even realize that
>they are there. Even within the TS; when someone states that the TS has
>no dogma, and I reply, "Yes it does: it assumes that there IS a
>brotherhood of humanity", I am frequently rebuffed, "That's not a dogma,
>that's the truth!". Or they accuse me of not believing in it (an
>unfortunate tendency of far too many people is to equate defending a
>(dis)belief with holding that (dis)belief). The gender non-neutral
>language (in my opinion, from my studies) is almost certainly due to the
>fact that virtually nobody even had the concept of pronouns sustaining
>inequality at that time.
>	Bart

There has been much talk of language so here is something Vitvan wrote in
1944 about general semantics that under pins all the langusge problem if one
choses to think about what he says.

" To those of us who are in the quest for the understanding of Self, 'life,'
etc., the importance of General Semantics lies in the fact that while living
in a sense of separation from the factual reality (One-ness, dynamic
activity-of-the-Whole, etc.), symbolical means of communication,
definitions, symbolical representations respecting our meanings, faith,
religions, beliefs, etc., constitute the content of our consciousness,
 To clarify the issue and render more sharply this "importance," let us
envisage the overall picture of our present situation, state of development,
etc. We do not think that we are living in verbalism (symbolical
representation), we think we are living in an 'objective world.' But take
any given 'thing,' and in the final analysis it must be described as a
configuration of units of energy (called atoms, electrons, protons, photons,
etc.) So it is with each or any 'object,' 'thing,' etc. Factually, then, we
do not live in an 'objective world.' It has been repeatedly shown that from,
or out of, energy frequencies received (registered) a photo-in-the-mind is
formulated and this image, believed to be substantive, is that which we
label 'objective world.'
 Not being able to live in an 'objective world,' we live in our words
respecting that which we think about, predicate, hope, believe, etc.,
respecting the 'objective world.' In living in our words respecting 'the
objective world,' we un-consciously identify those words with that which we
believe to be 'objective.' We have been functioning this way for so long a
period that we have grown into the unconscious habit of accepting the word,
spoken, written, etc., for the 'object,' or 'thing' spoken about; and this
habit has grown upon us to such an extent that when words (symbols) are used
which are undefined, multi-ordinal, labels for abstractions, visions,
hallucinations, metaphysical ideas, etc., etc., we accept such words as
valid, i.e., as 'thing,' 'being,' entities, realities, existences, etc.
 In the overall picture of the truth respecting these functions of our
respective minds we find that in the absence of an 'objective world' as a
reality there is nothing left except the words, symbols, etc., of which we
are conscious, and the energy impulses registered, of which we are
unconscious. So, at present, in so far as conscious awareness extends, the
words, symbols, etc., assume startling importance! Instead of using the word
"startling" here, we could have used the word terrifying by reason of the
fact that our attitudes, hopes, health, sanity, adjustment, economical
security, whether we have war or do not have war, peace and security, or
devastation, etc., etc., is determined by the character of symbols,
generally and individually used.

 But as overwhelmingly important as this is, it is not the whole of the
"importance" of understanding General Semantics, because, in the overall
picture we find that the sharpest differentiation between our symbolical
'edifice' (world of words) and that from which we receive impulses, is
prerequisite to the beginning of
 understanding the truth respecting livingness, i.e., truth respecting that
which is factual, actual, etc. Figuratively speaking, General Semantics
opens a door to the beginning of understanding.
 In the overall picture this "importance" cannot be over-emphasized, and if
you do not credit this importance, try to device or find a better 'door.'
Once this General Semantics 'door' has been found and opened, a vast dynamic
'ocean' awaits our exploration. Each of us is an integral 'part' of this
'ocean.' In the exploration process the first step consists in orientation,
adjustment, familiarization, finding one's 'place' tempo, rhythm, etc.,
thereto or therein. The second step consists in consciously functioning
therein. The third step will more than likely consist of Oneness, Wholeness,
etc., respecting the comprehension of this dynamic 'ocean' as the activity
of our own Self-Awareness. But what is the use to speculate upon these
'steps' if we have not found the 'door?'
 In the complete absence of symbols (words, etc.) can you think? I believe
that you can function by pointing, nodding, ogling, etc., and I believe that
you can function telepathically by knowing, by intuitive awareness, etc.,
but can you think without words and symbols? If you cannot think without
words the factor of "importance" respecting semantics intrudes into your
most private and exclusive 'world.' Then understanding of the content,
adequacy, structure and function of language assumes paramount importance
even in your most private domain."

This is again the idea that the 'map' is not the 'territory'. The more I am
aware that the words I uses are abstractions I have made from the
frequencies of the 'objects' around me, the more I feel free from
restrictions others like to put on me as I ralise they are identified with
their view of their symbolic world and the words they use to verbalise it. I
do not necessarily hold the same view and my symbolic world is my own
private one and if I am not identified with those symbols then I have no
need to look to others to confirm that the verbal symbols I use are ok. I
can just BE and realise that there is an un-speakable level which we try to
talk about but that is all we can do if we do not let ourselves experience
it too.
Just some thought.

Bee Brown
Member Theosophy NZ, TI.

Success is getting what you want.
Happiness is liking what you get.

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