What's in a word?
On another thread, I noticed that the word 'retard' was used in a rather casual, off-hand way, so I thought I would say something on it.
I understand the term 'retard' is commonly used in the US for someone who is mentally handicapped or as a slang term to call someone stupid. I have heard it used in American movies. I realize it may have no offensive connotations for yourself and I quite understand that.
However, here, in the UK, it has a somewhat degrading, disrespectful undertone to it and is not used in everyday language.
It is the sort of word that might be used by bullies in the playground, or by uneducated bigots, who enjoy picking on someone who is different in some way, similar to calling someone a 'cripple' or a 'mongol', for example -classifying and identifying a person, not firstly as a person, but as something less, something to be ridiculed - 'they have this undesirable handicap, but I don't, so I feel superior'.
On the other hand, perhaps, there are words we use in the UK which Americans, or people from other English speaking countries, might find inappropriate. The same words can mean different things to different people.
Does it matter what words we use? Should we have the freedom to use whatever words we want in public? Does it restrict our freedom if we are told not to use certain words because a minority may consider them to be offensive? Who should decide?
Words help us to represent things we experience in our realities; they are our greatest problem and yet a great tool.
I hate words, to be quite honest with you. Why is philosophy so complex? It's not that by its very nature it is, but because words and their flexible nature make it so. People have different subjective experiences of words and so our use of them is varied.
I would imagine that back home in the ether, nothing is misunderstood because communication is done through feeling. This is not something that can be done here on Earth due to our Earthly nature - it'd start wars.
Words are our greatest enemy. Use them wisely and, if possible, use them sparingly.
The ancients took vows of silenece for the very reason that words are a hindrance to knowing. A million words describing what is, fails it completely.
Words are for the ego mind to label good or bad, pleasure or pain. Degrading others via words strengthens ego.
People who use a million words to say what they are trying to get at makes me tired. I know it is judgment on my part. I "get" where they are headed in the first few words. Then I feel my body and mind go thru this resistance. So as they are going around in circles, talking huge circles into smaller circles, I work on myself. I practice letting go of judgment. I can usually hear what they are not saying and concentrate on that.So when they finally take a breath I can ask a simple question.
Are they so insecure that they are talking theirselves into existence? Is it the Ego demanding center stage? Do we have the right to interrupt and ask a question to get them to the core issue or do we just let them ramble?
people used the word retard in a negative way over the years and now it has become a harsh word where before it was used only to express a delay in one's development
same with the word gay -
my kids ran across a bday card I had received at the age of 4 (the 60's)and on the front it said -
Have a Gay Birthday -in other words have a happy day
nowadays you might get punched for giving a card like that
People's egos are so fragile that they feel more important by diminishing others by calling them names. Even though nothing has actually changed in reality, the words themselves can cause shifts in ego, and shifts in identity. In this case, you are what you say. ;)
As for a million words: You can know a million words to describe, but never know for real. It's less about people talking "around" a subject, and more the fundamental difference between language of existance, and existance itself. Language can point the way, but it can never fully substitute for the real thing.
It's the difference between the word "tree" and an actual tree.
So is retard just a word, or do you become a retard when someone calls you one?
"Retard" is just as offensive in the U.S. as it would be in the U.K. and the same kind of people who use terms like that there do so here; ignorant, uneducated, unempathetic, uncaring individuals who prefer to belittle something than take the time or energy to understand it.
As for words, most indigineous peoples throughout the world who don't have a written language believe that words hold great power. Words can heal and words can harm. Those who do not choose and use their words clearly and carefully do not think clearly or carefully.
Words and language in general help us to classify and categorize our experience. They allow us to take in information and then put it into usable boxes that we can then take action on.
And yet, words and language are our biggest barriers to a full experience. When we classify something; when we "call" it something, label it, give it a "name" we lessen it in so many ways. A candle flame is not a "candle flame". It IS its own experience - it is heat and light and movement and consuming and growth and destruction and reorganization and so many things that our limiting words cannot encompass, that when we "name" it, we reduce its impact on our experience.
Such is the paradox of language and words to the Human condition.
Sometimes an Apology is a Necessity!
It was wrong of me to mock the retarded, I was being less than good, I apologize and stand to be corrected.
I believe in freedom of speech, but what I've done is not freedom of speech, it was an act of deliberate foolishness, in which I've offended myself.
What's in a Word
What's in a Word
In the beginning was the Word
The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The light that shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it.
John 1:15 NIV
Sometimes we say more when we don't speak...
"Does it restrict our freedom if we are told not to use certain words because a minority may consider them to be offensive? Who should decide?"Your language is a witness to your mind. On this note, I think it would restrict our freedom if someone tried to put words into and out of our heads... fortunately that's not possible, not in an 'administrative' way at least (not talking about the 'in' and 'out' words).
I'd rather have someone 'speak their mind' than 'resticting' themselves and thinking it anyway - which is maybe the darkest of white lies.
And if you are forced to enjoy the London tube twice a day at rush hour, oh well, you'd meet a lot of 'them'... not realizing you're becoming one yourself. And down there in the tunnels, 'retard' is a rather harmless word...
So it's always a matter of context I believe, and your qualities as a HUMAN being.
words are dangerous if used irresponsibly.
when said they cannot be erased from the memory of others.
Think twice before speaking. ^^, especially when using derogatory words.
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