People do not understand what they say
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Posted 1/6/10
I think this has become quite a problem. It is fairly clear to anyone who is willing to think that our language is full of words with a great number of connotations. Now, for one reason or another, many people are not taught, or somehow failed to learn how to distinguish between different connotations of a word and whatever they have attempted to say becomes completely muddled at best and at worst, they have no idea about what they want to say, to begin with.

A few examples are topics (ones that crop up pretty often on all sorts of forums) titled:
'Does love exist?'
'Is murder wrong?'
'Do you believe in religion?'

Which connotation of 'love', 'wrong' or 'believe'?

I find that this issue hinders communication on forums (and other, more practical areas) greatly. We are often talking past each other, when a simple clarification could dispel ambiguities.

Now, I just put forward my opinion here. I'm not trying to move the discussion in any direction, just inviting other peoples' views regarding any aspect of what has been raised.
Posted 1/6/10 , edited 1/6/10
This is what makes human expression based on symbolism(calligraphy) and metaphor(phonics) so interestingly creative, because its nature is very flexible and dynamic.

However when you consider that our ability to express is a universal skill, that's genetically inherent on all known animal species. What you then be looking at is the difference of us humans and the rest of the animal species; that our ability to create concrete ideas and concepts about the world(civilization) which we humans inhabit, derives from us macro-managing(communication) the ambiguous nature of our individual human expression.

And I've not seen any other known animal specie has this unique trait called civilization, when social biologically speaking all animals have are societies living in interdependency. Because while animals with relatively simple social behaviors lack flexibility and dynamism in their expressions, the rest with a much more complex social behaviors OTOH are too busy engaging each other in social activities other than language based only communications.

Furthermore, when we consider the possibility that radical ideas and extreme concepts can "hijack" individuals, or even to go as far as to "infect" them with anti-social, and often deadly and destructive behaviors. I think individually the more "ambiguous" our state of minds are, the more "infectious" or "creative" ourselves can be with our imaginations.

I can't even say for sure what all this means to me, as of yet. Thanks to no small part for your topic of choice(AKA "I'm blaming this on you so be grateful "). But if I may, I'm guessing that when ideas and concepts, now philosophically known as memes, are constantly mutating and evolving themselves using the ambiguous nature of our human imaginations. Our own individual personalities, which are individually characterized by our dignity and freedom of what we values, are the intellectual elimination of "stupid" memes via intellectual debates.

I've done it again!
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Posted 1/6/10 , edited 1/6/10

DomFortress wrote:

This is what makes human expression based on symbolism(calligraphy) and metaphor(phonics) so interestingly creative, because its nature is very flexible and dynamic.

However when you consider that our ability to express is a universal skill, that's genetically inherent on all known animal species. What you then be looking at is the difference of us humans and the rest of the animal species; that our ability to create concrete ideas and concepts about the world(civilization) which we humans inhabit, derives from us macro-managing(communication) the ambiguous nature of our individual human expression.

And I've not seen any other known animal specie has this unique trait called civilization, when social biologically speaking all animals have are societies living in interdependency. Because while animals with relatively simple social behaviors lack flexibility and dynamism in their expressions, the rest with a much more complex social behaviors OTOH are too busy engaging each other in social activities other than language based only communications.

I can not agree with this. You give animals to little credit for what there able to accomplish. Yes verbal language might not be the way they communicate most of the time, but they have there own body gestures, tones in there voices, and even Eye contact that make up there language, not so much verbal but just as complex as are own.
I even go as far as to say wen it comes to communication skills there just as advance as we are. The Chimpanzees even have social gatherings in order to build stronger more friendly communities.

DomFortress wrote:

Furthermore, when we consider the possibility that radical ideas and extreme concepts can "hijack" individuals, or even to go as far as to "infect" them with anti-social, and often deadly and destructive behaviors. I think individually the more "ambiguous" our state of minds are, the more "infectious" or "creative" ourselves can be with our imaginations.

I can't even say for sure what all this means to me, as of yet. Thanks to no small part for your topic of choice(AKA "I'm blaming this on you so be grateful "). But if I may, I'm guessing that when ideas and concepts, now philosophically known as memes, are constantly mutating and evolving themselves using the ambiguous nature of our human imaginations. Our own individual personalities, which are individually characterized by our dignity and freedom of what we values, are the intellectual elimination of "stupid" memes via intellectual debates.

I've done it again!


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Posted 1/6/10
Language is based on perception, I may say and mean one thing meanwhile you could read it as another thing entirely. There's really no "fix" for this, it's naturally occurring. Anyway, I don't believe it hinders communication that much anyway.
Posted 1/7/10

Darkphoenix3450 wrote:


DomFortress wrote:

This is what makes human expression based on symbolism(calligraphy) and metaphor(phonics) so interestingly creative, because its nature is very flexible and dynamic.

However when you consider that our ability to express is a universal skill, that's genetically inherent on all known animal species. What you then be looking at is the difference of us humans and the rest of the animal species; that our ability to create concrete ideas and concepts about the world(civilization) which we humans inhabit, derives from us macro-managing(communication) the ambiguous nature of our individual human expression.

And I've not seen any other known animal specie has this unique trait called civilization, when social biologically speaking all animals have are societies living in interdependency. Because while animals with relatively simple social behaviors lack flexibility and dynamism in their expressions, the rest with a much more complex social behaviors OTOH are too busy engaging each other in social activities other than language based only communications.

I can not agree with this. You give animals to little credit for what there able to accomplish. Yes verbal language might not be the way they communicate most of the time, but they have there own body gestures, tones in there voices, and even Eye contact that make up there language, not so much verbal but just as complex as are own.
I even go as far as to say wen it comes to communication skills there just as advance as we are. The Chimpanzees even have social gatherings in order to build stronger more friendly communities.

As an amateur social scientist, I see all animal expressions are essential skills under social behaviors. However, the language(speech and writing) based communication skill in human social behaviors only consisted 4% of our total expressions available at our immediate disposals. While the rest 96% of our expressions are made out of our body gestures, tones in our voices, and even our eye contact that make up our emotions.

But within that 4% of our expressions based solely on our languages, our human civilization based on ideas and concepts, mutated and evolved as memes(genomes) in our imaginative mindset of ambiguity. These memes then inhabit our personalities and spread out through our full range of expressions. And by us reasoning, visualizing, writing, calculating, charting, navigating, delegating, filming, photographing, printing, building, inhabiting, experimenting, fantasizing, masturbating... (well, you get the idea. ) these memes took physical shapes and became our civilization as we know it.

In the end, we can just use 96% of our expressions, and we can still get the job done by us doing it like mammals. However, just like lifeforms derived from natures through the genetic evolutionary process of natural selection. Our human civilization OTOH derived from our flexible, dynamic, thereby very ambiguous imagination, through our ideas and concepts as memes mutated and evolved(AKA creative process ) of, oh dare I say it, happiness selection.


Joushio wrote:

Language is based on perception, I may say and mean one thing meanwhile you could read it as another thing entirely. There's really no "fix" for this, it's naturally occurring. Anyway, I don't believe it hinders communication that much anyway.

Well to those who can't create new meanings from ambiguity, they're often frustrated by their lack of understanding between themselves and each other. And I can understand that, because 4% of language based communication just isn't enough for them to express themselves fully.
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Posted 1/7/10

This is what makes human expression based on symbolism(calligraphy) and metaphor(phonics) so interestingly creative, because its nature is very flexible and dynamic.


I do not contend otherwise.


However when you consider that our ability to express is a universal skill, that's genetically inherent on all known animal species. What you then be looking at is the difference of us humans and the rest of the animal species; that our ability to create concrete ideas and concepts about the world(civilization) which we humans inhabit, derives from us macro-managing(communication) the ambiguous nature of our individual human expression.


I think it would fair to say that the 'ambiguous nature of our individual human expression' indicates that we are limited in our verbal capacity in many regards. Speech appears to be a very basic and uncomplicated thing, but in truth, as it has been pointed out to me in the past, just a few weeks ago, it is not. When you think how hard it is to explain a complex idea to another person and how often it has to be done, it becomes apparent that we are severely limited and incompetent when it comes to the dynamic expression of complex concepts.


And I've not seen any other known animal specie has this unique trait called civilization, when social biologically speaking all animals have are societies living in interdependency. Because while animals with relatively simple social behaviors lack flexibility and dynamism in their expressions, the rest with a much more complex social behaviors OTOH are too busy engaging each other in social activities other than language based only communications.


My knowledge about the animal world is, unfortunately, very limited, so I cannot really argue anything here.


Furthermore, when we consider the possibility that radical ideas and extreme concepts can "hijack" individuals, or even to go as far as to "infect" them with anti-social, and often deadly and destructive behaviors. I think individually the more "ambiguous" our state of minds are, the more "infectious" or "creative" ourselves can be with our imaginations.


I would contend otherwise. In a debate, dispute or argument, to a degree, how persuasive an individual is will depend on the capacity to accurately convey ideas and overcome the defence or offence of the opponent. Even if our protagonist is correct in believing that a certain thing is so, ultimately, he or she may still stumble at some formal step due to not being able to clearly convey his or her thoughts thus not voicing his or her arguments as they are present in his or her brain. A sound argument voiced incorrectly is, for all practical purposes, a flawed argument. 'That's not what I meant!' in a serious argument will only yield ridicule, if the meaning of the information conveyed did not accord with the intended meaning.


I can't even say for sure what all this means to me, as of yet. Thanks to no small part for your topic of choice(AKA "I'm blaming this on you so be grateful "). But if I may, I'm guessing that when ideas and concepts, now philosophically known as memes, are constantly mutating and evolving themselves using the ambiguous nature of our human imaginations. Our own individual personalities, which are individually characterized by our dignity and freedom of what we values, are the intellectual elimination of "stupid" memes via intellectual debates.


I am grateful, I like to be the object of blame. Now, the evolution of ideas is wonderful and ambiguity may truly exist in the realm of philosophy, it does not, however, exist in the actual world. Take antisemitism for example. Arabic people with strong negatives feelings against Jews will often be identified as antisemites, when this is not true. Arabs are semites themselves, and they do not appear to be opposed to themselves, thus excluding the possibility of being antisemites. Such ambiguities are, then, exploited by cunning, sly people to turn erroneous arguments in their own favour and twist the meanings of terms and definitions and shape them to their own needs. In the hypothetical situation where much focus is placed on the accuracy of words, terms and definitions, this is not possible and we can convey information and discuss or debate issues with much more ease, as words, terms and definitions are shared and universal.

This does not mean that artistic forms of expression can not exist, such as metaphor, it means that they should be reserved for the realm of art and fall into disuse in the realm of practical issues where they do not good anyway. If you asked me for directions, and I said to you 'What you seek lies beyond the dragon's lair.', meaning that it is behind the museum where a sculpture of a dragon is located, would you be happy with the directions given? Most probably not. You want directions, not enigmas.


Language is based on perception, I may say and mean one thing meanwhile you could read it as another thing entirely. There's really no "fix" for this, it's naturally occurring. Anyway, I don't believe it hinders communication that much anyway.


There is a fix for it: disambiguation. Educating kids and older students to convey their thoughts clearly. It is laughable that people are given professional skills and educated in complicated fields, yet there is no time for such a crucial thing.


But within that 4% of our expressions based solely on our languages, our human civilization based on ideas and concepts, mutated and evolved as memes(genomes) in our imaginative mindset of ambiguity. These memes then inhabit our personalities and spread out through our full range of expressions. And by us reasoning, visualizing, writing, calculating, charting, navigating, delegating, filming, photographing, printing, building, inhabiting, experimenting, fantasizing, masturbating... (well, you get the idea. ) these memes took physical shapes and became our civilization as we know it.

In the end, we can just use 96% of our expressions, and we can still get the job done by us doing it like mammals. However, just like lifeforms derived from natures through the genetic evolutionary process of natural selection. Our human civilization OTOH derived from our flexible, dynamic, thereby very ambiguous imagination, through our ideas and concepts as memes mutated and evolved(AKA creative process ) of, oh dare I say it, happiness selection.


There is nothing wrong with ambigous imagination or expression, but it has its place, and that place is outside the area of practical matters. Capacity and use is not to be confused. I think we all agree that our species takes great pleasure in such artistic forms of expression, I'm not saying otherwise, but if your doctor gives your nurse ambiguous directions, as a result you may die. Of course, this does not threaten in a theatrical play, which we go to see to witness the use of ambiguity and metaphor, but these are radically different fields.


Well to those who can't create new meanings from ambiguity, they're often frustrated by their lack of understanding between themselves and each other. And I can understand that, because 4% of language based communication just isn't enough for them to express themselves fully.


I can create countless meanings for a term you present me with. It is not the capacity that is missing, but the willingness. I could confer upon myself the liberty to interpret your words however I please, but I do not. I want to understand what you have meant, so rather than choosing from the countless available interpretations, I go for the teleological, the purpose interpretation. I use my logic to try to ascertain what you were thinking when you wrote your post. Now, if you go drink a bottle of vodka, your writing skills will temporarily diminish, and I will have a harder time ascertaining the intended meaning behind your words and it will hinder communication between us, which will in turn hinder communication with other members of the forums. The more clarity you write your comments with, the more efficiently we can all communicate and the more issues we can hope to unravel. Such a small thing affects a wide range of other very significant issues and our overall progress as a species. It is far from insignificant.
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Posted 1/7/10
If it was so "crucial" then how are we doing fine without it?
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Posted 1/7/10

Joushio wrote:

If it was so "crucial" then how are we doing fine without it?


Fine does not mean optimal. And to tell the truth, we are not doing fine. Just look around and you will see how many things could be improved greatly through better coordination, cooperation and understanding. Doing fine...
Posted 1/7/10 , edited 1/8/10

DerfelCadarn wrote:

However when you consider that our ability to express is a universal skill, that's genetically inherent on all known animal species. What you then be looking at is the difference of us humans and the rest of the animal species; that our ability to create concrete ideas and concepts about the world(civilization) which we humans inhabit, derives from us macro-managing(communication) the ambiguous nature of our individual human expression.


I think it would fair to say that the 'ambiguous nature of our individual human expression' indicates that we are limited in our verbal capacity in many regards. Speech appears to be a very basic and uncomplicated thing, but in truth, as it has been pointed out to me in the past, just a few weeks ago, it is not. When you think how hard it is to explain a complex idea to another person and how often it has to be done, it becomes apparent that we are severely limited and incompetent when it comes to the dynamic expression of complex concepts.
This is why besides our verbal and written languages for everyday communications, we also employ several other forms of languages based on symbols and metaphors for every other complex concepts. Take mathematics for example, it's a logic language skill that can explain the concept of design using measurements, whereas drafting is a visual language skill that can explain the same concept of design using dimensions, and navigation is a spatial language skill that can yet again explain the same concept of design using vectors. While the concept of design itself is only a part of engineering, but can you imagine just how much aspect of our civilization is based on human engineering by designs? Yet mathematics, drafting, and navigation skills are all man-made concepts not based on nature. When they were created by our ambiguous human imaginations.



Furthermore, when we consider the possibility that radical ideas and extreme concepts can "hijack" individuals, or even to go as far as to "infect" them with anti-social, and often deadly and destructive behaviors. I think individually the more "ambiguous" our state of minds are, the more "infectious" or "creative" ourselves can be with our imaginations.


I would contend otherwise. In a debate, dispute or argument, to a degree, how persuasive an individual is will depend on the capacity to accurately convey ideas and overcome the defence or offence of the opponent. Even if our protagonist is correct in believing that a certain thing is so, ultimately, he or she may still stumble at some formal step due to not being able to clearly convey his or her thoughts thus not voicing his or her arguments as they are present in his or her brain. A sound argument voiced incorrectly is, for all practical purposes, a flawed argument. 'That's not what I meant!' in a serious argument will only yield ridicule, if the meaning of the information conveyed did not accord with the intended meaning.
Actually, it's much easier for you to get around most people's defense than you would think. When all you have to do is pretend to be like them by you adapting and adopting their personality and attitude. This is the danger of not using individual profiling for identifying dangerous elements, which I think is the leading cause of individuals loosing their guard on someone else. I personally managed to blend myself into several social norms quite easily using this method, The Art of War had taught me well.

Furthermore, an incorrect argument voiced by someone like me, who's pretending to be a member of that social norm, can change the collective mindset of that group due to their automatic acceptance of me. All I have to do is for myself to identify the "seven social processes that grease the slippery slope of evil" within that social norm, and I can manipulate their behaviors with ease. For you see:


I can't even say for sure what all this means to me, as of yet. Thanks to no small part for your topic of choice(AKA "I'm blaming this on you so be grateful "). But if I may, I'm guessing that when ideas and concepts, now philosophically known as memes, are constantly mutating and evolving themselves using the ambiguous nature of our human imaginations. Our own individual personalities, which are individually characterized by our dignity and freedom of what we values, are the intellectual elimination of "stupid" memes via intellectual debates.


I am grateful, I like to be the object of blame. Now, the evolution of ideas is wonderful and ambiguity may truly exist in the realm of philosophy, it does not, however, exist in the actual world. Take antisemitism for example. Arabic people with strong negatives feelings against Jews will often be identified as antisemites, when this is not true. Arabs are semites themselves, and they do not appear to be opposed to themselves, thus excluding the possibility of being antisemites. Such ambiguities are, then, exploited by cunning, sly people to turn erroneous arguments in their own favour and twist the meanings of terms and definitions and shape them to their own needs. In the hypothetical situation where much focus is placed on the accuracy of words, terms and definitions, this is not possible and we can convey information and discuss or debate issues with much more ease, as words, terms and definitions are shared and universal.
I know exactly just how it can be done.


This does not mean that artistic forms of expression can not exist, such as metaphor, it means that they should be reserved for the realm of art and fall into disuse in the realm of practical issues where they do not good anyway. If you asked me for directions, and I said to you 'What you seek lies beyond the dragon's lair.', meaning that it is behind the museum where a sculpture of a dragon is located, would you be happy with the directions given? Most probably not. You want directions, not enigmas.
And I'm capable of giving out clear directions too. For you see I've learned from my martial art study that "the mastery of control is direction and flow, not regulation or oppression".



Language is based on perception, I may say and mean one thing meanwhile you could read it as another thing entirely. There's really no "fix" for this, it's naturally occurring. Anyway, I don't believe it hinders communication that much anyway.


There is a fix for it: disambiguation. Educating kids and older students to convey their thoughts clearly. It is laughable that people are given professional skills and educated in complicated fields, yet there is no time for such a crucial thing.
Therefore what they need is critical literacy. However with the stupid forum rule of no criticizing, how can anyone but a rebel at heart could criticize other people's literary works.



But within that 4% of our expressions based solely on our languages, our human civilization based on ideas and concepts, mutated and evolved as memes(genomes) in our imaginative mindset of ambiguity. These memes then inhabit our personalities and spread out through our full range of expressions. And by us reasoning, visualizing, writing, calculating, charting, navigating, delegating, filming, photographing, printing, building, inhabiting, experimenting, fantasizing, masturbating... (well, you get the idea. ) these memes took physical shapes and became our civilization as we know it.

In the end, we can just use 96% of our expressions, and we can still get the job done by us doing it like mammals. However, just like lifeforms derived from natures through the genetic evolutionary process of natural selection. Our human civilization OTOH derived from our flexible, dynamic, thereby very ambiguous imagination, through our ideas and concepts as memes mutated and evolved(AKA creative process ) of, oh dare I say it, happiness selection.


There is nothing wrong with ambigous imagination or expression, but it has its place, and that place is outside the area of practical matters. Capacity and use is not to be confused. I think we all agree that our species takes great pleasure in such artistic forms of expression, I'm not saying otherwise, but if your doctor gives your nurse ambiguous directions, as a result you may die. Of course, this does not threaten in a theatrical play, which we go to see to witness the use of ambiguity and metaphor, but these are radically different fields.
But I think conventional art form like music, singing, painting, and even dancing can have practical applications in applied science. All I need is to recognize the pattern in each form of art to adapt and adopt a specific skill.

Take music for example, it has great similarity with mathematics because of the calculus nature they both share. Singing can go well with linguistic, while painting is just a step away from drafting. And dancing can apply to navigation due to their need of motor skill and visual coordination.



Well to those who can't create new meanings from ambiguity, they're often frustrated by their lack of understanding between themselves and each other. And I can understand that, because 4% of language based communication just isn't enough for them to express themselves fully.


I can create countless meanings for a term you present me with. It is not the capacity that is missing, but the willingness. I could confer upon myself the liberty to interpret your words however I please, but I do not. I want to understand what you have meant, so rather than choosing from the countless available interpretations, I go for the teleological, the purpose interpretation. I use my logic to try to ascertain what you were thinking when you wrote your post. Now, if you go drink a bottle of vodka, your writing skills will temporarily diminish, and I will have a harder time ascertaining the intended meaning behind your words and it will hinder communication between us, which will in turn hinder communication with other members of the forums. The more clarity you write your comments with, the more efficiently we can all communicate and the more issues we can hope to unravel. Such a small thing affects a wide range of other very significant issues and our overall progress as a species. It is far from insignificant.
That's why the need to practice critical literacy, as well as the reason that I don't drink. And as long as we can all perform the former, we'll only have to worry about individuals with Asperger and Autism. And even then, at least now there's an early prevention and correction method for Autism.


DerfelCadarn wrote:


Joushio wrote:

If it was so "crucial" then how are we doing fine without it?


Fine does not mean optimal. And to tell the truth, we are not doing fine. Just look around and you will see how many things could be improved greatly through better coordination, cooperation and understanding. Doing fine...
This is just like one of my favorite TED speaker and his thoughts about the state of psychology.

Also from TED, this might inspire you some new ways to achieve better communication through flexible team structure in dynamic situation.
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Many people, and those who interact online a lot are very likely to fail at recognizing connotations, because usually can't be expressed through text, but only through face to face direct communication.
Also, about talking past each other, i think that's really correct. most people on forums just post their own opinions on the topic title and usually wouldn't read what other people have to say on that subject either.
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There is one communication factor I didn't see discussed here --- or I missed it --- w/ the conflicts & anomalies of word connotations.

The missing factor is often personal experience. For example, someone who has experienced alcohol or drug addiction is better suited to understand the suffering communicated by someone still suffering w/ it, or how can someone who has never experienced childbirth know all the lingo as well as the emotional feelings which are difficult to put into mere words.

Someone else whose "been there, done that" has a far greater chance of following the communication & words used.
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