Paula Deen, the N Word, F Word, G Word and W Word. Word. Religion Part III

I have not blogged in a while because, frankly, truth be told, the religion subject was beginning to bore even me…and I’m the one writing this holy crap. In spite of the fact I have received some wonderful feedback on my last blog concerning a different understanding of FCBE- the force, creator, being, energy formerly known -by some- as God, three parts just seemed one part too many and most of you may agree after reading this final installment. Yet, after this whole Paula Deen scandalous “N paula deenword” ordeal, I am once again inspired for reasons that may seem unapparent at the moment.

As an educator of communication I do have some experience with the practice of words and language. I am not a linguist (check out Jordan’s blog for an example of a master linguist…warning: you may notice like father like son) I am much more a philosopher of language and its use.  For example, a book that really floats my intellectual boat would be S.I. Hayakawa’s Language in Thought and Action in which he breaks down language and it’s function in a variety of different contexts. If I would be so bold as to summarize his language philosophy in a sentence it would be very similar, if not identical, to my own sentiment:

Words alone mean absolutely nothing.

Even the text that many would consider to be the ultimate authority on words, the dictionary, does not dictate nor authoritatively provide definitions, rather it is only a reporter, or historian, on how words have been used in the past. Just read a dictionary from 1880, hell 1980, and find out just how many definitions have changed over the years; examples are nearly endless. Dictionaries do not create, they report.

stock-photo-the-word-dictionary-close-up-of-the-word-dictionary-and-its-definition-2660487As a society we collectively assign meanings to words -and just as society is complex and diverse, so are the meanings we assign to words.  What someone means strikes at the heart of communication –NOT what someone says with words.  Frankly it terrifies the living hell out of me that as a society there is now a shame and Orwellian type of big brother fear in uttering a single word, nigger, regardless of context or reasoning. Yet nearly every other word in one half of every hip hop/rap song uses it and my son’s friends, black and white together, call each other nigger, ma nigga, negro and even nigs. Perhaps our younger generation has a much stronger ability to see through such politically correct bullshit and realize words are about what they mean and little else.

Why is there no shame in songs or friends using the word nigger? Simple. The intent is friendly. nelis_niggerLoving. Fun. Harmless. There is no hate or animosity. This blog is using the word to educate on a philosophy of words and language. There is no hate or animosity. As for Paula Deen, I have no idea what she meant…yet that is all that matters. She may be the world’s worst racist or lover of all races, I don’t know. What I do know is that the use of a word alone will ultimately tell us nothing.

Rather than having an “N word” perhaps we should have a “W word” or “Word word” as words seem to play the dirty culprit more often than not and are the biggest problem in society. Unfortunately we have little alternative.

So what does all of this have to do with religion, part III?

The name we assign to FCBE means nothing. We trivialize FCBE when we assign a label.  As H.R. Huse explains, “Dictionary definitions permit us to hide from ourselves and others the extent of our ignorance.” We only need a definition when we are unclear of a concept. We do not need a definition for the things we know and even then that definition is speculative at best. FCBE is unclear and is going to stay that way.

At the risk of getting way too philosophical on your ass, a branch of philosophy known as phenomenalism suggests that we can only really know anything within ourselves and our inward experience with something -once we attempt to communicate about it we dilute the meaning.  

oakbarrel2For example, think of a barrel of pristine, pure water. The only way to release the pure water is through a contaminated water spicket that contains impurities and will compromise the quality of the water. The water can only be pure on the inside within the barrel. Likewise when we put into words our thoughts and ideas contained within us they immediately become impure because the limitations of words and the process of communication contaminate our true inward meaning. The communication process is like a contaminated spicket.nothing-20130324-179

Yes, I realize the seemingly contradictory irony of using words to criticize words -yet if you could climb inside my brain and see what I REALLY mean you would be REALLY impressed.

Therefore the idea of FCBE is better off unstated, unworded while resting comfortably in the confines of our own beings. Once we assign a word the contamination process begins. Thus, my new name is simply             .  And because             is unknowable, infinite and eternal, perhaps               prefers no moniker as this only cheapens the concept.

And if             is in the business of blessing, may            bless you for           ‘s sake.

Finally…now I can get on to some more interesting                  damned subjects.

jimmysintension

8 Comments

  1. ‘Words’ by Missing Persons and any quotes from the Three Stooges.

    • Well, I must say that you completely inspired me Ms. Yvonne! Thank you for your feedback.

  2. Interestingly enough I’m an african american. Even more interestingly hearing or even reading the “N” word makes me cringe. There is so much I want to say, but here is a tidbit of my opinion. I sometime imagine if one of my ancestors were brought back from the grave in these times what would they say. What kind of fear and disbelief would they bear. What would they say? Would they be embarrassed of what we have become? I feel remorse for the ignorant behavior of my own race. My view of the younger generation is “monkey see monkey do”. In one instance I understand why “younger” people use it a term of endearment. I used to use it because it became natural among all my black friends. It’s funny how when I started challenging my brain I found out how much I disliked the word. No one ever chopped up one of my little brothers or sisters because of a remark or an assumption. So when I see in the media ignorant black people I didn’t suffer with them.We are all humans first and if we want respect we need to give it to all. We each have the power as you so eloquently put it so let’s take that power and make history with it.

    • Thank you Destinique! Words can be tricky because in and of themselves they mean absolutely nothing -as it is only the meaning we assign that gives them power. I would challenge you not to “cringe” at ANY word, rather find the intent behind it. There are some words I really do not like at all…if I hear them I have to understand that person may not carry the same connotation that I do. I tend to cringe more at intent over the word itself. Though, as I frequently preach…I ONLY speak for myself. I have no idea what it might feel like to be African American and hear that word; perhaps I might feel differently…I do not pretend to speak for anyone but me. Thank you for engaging in the discussion…it’s an important one.

  3. As I read the above discussion/communication I though about the fact that the ancient Hebrew God had a name that was not to be spoken. Written text used four characters which in more current times has been “translated” to Yahweh in some cases and Jehovah by others. So it appears that from the time of the initiation of a concept of a single entity God, naming was considered perhaps , at the least, unnecessary and perhaps even not a good idea.

    • Thanks for the contribution Don. I guess God would probably agree with me then. 🙂 Labels and names do tend to change the concept. When you think about it, how could something infinite and eternal actually have a name?

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