Friday, October 5, 2007

The meaninglessness of the meanings of words

The central core of communication dictates that all party's involved in communicating draw from the same meanings and definitions to communicate successfully. Word's and idea's become blurred by playing fast and loose with the definitions. From the infamous "what the meaning of IS, is" to the subtle shift in frame that occurs when people call the occupation of Iraq a "war", the manipulation of words to serve the purpose of controlling what the consumer of the information draws from that information is abundant and mostly below radar. It's no wonder the world in which we as individual's live can be so disconnected from reality, nobody understands what the fuck anyone else is talking about.

The careful measure of verbal mis-direction by those who want you to see things as black that are clearly white is a time honored tradition. Clergy, politicians, lawyers, advertisers, teachers, parents all want to control your perception of reality. That's how you end up with suicide bombers and anyone who isn't a millionaire voting republican. There are various groups who's sole purpose is to dissect the common language and find ways of manipulating their target audience to believe not what is true, but what that group wants them to believe is true and they're damn good at it.

Take the food industry as an example. The words; light, lite, free, low, lean etc. were abused in food packaging to the point where the FDA had to step in and regulate criteria for the use of those and many other words so the consumer would not be duped when they focused on the big brand label telling you how good for you an item is and not on the nutritional content. Fat Free items can contain up to .5 grams of fat per serving, regardless of the serving size. Soda usually comes in 12oz or higher containers yet the nutritional data is geared towared an individual serving which is 8oz. It seems as though companies who process and package foods for the consumption of the general public don't want you to know what's in, or has been done to the food being consumed.

The ability to twist words to suit a particular meaning, or more precisely the ability to accurately pattern the twisting of those words to achieve the desired effect is a powerful tool for those that are aware of it, and a weakness of dire social consequence for those who do not. 90% of communication is non-verbal, yet most rely on the verbal portion to process for reaction, leaving the meaning-less words to formulate, in effect, a meaning-less reaction leaving many with a life without meaning.

4 comments:

Kilgore Trout said...

I have a feeling I know where this stream of consciousness started. Our friend over at Granola Box has a good example of this, a letter from Randy Kuhl, our (GB and I's) representative, a term I'm using loosely.

It would be pretty funny except for the fact that this guy's job is to be my voice in government its like playing the most fucked up version of Telephone ever. I say end the war he says absolutely we must end it, just not in the foreseeable future.

Byshop said...

Well this had been kicking around in my head for some time. It may not have started there but it was the on ramp to the blog highway, from the surface streets in my head.

It pains me when the scope of how hard people work to decieve sinks in. Half of me says fight fire with fire, and half says take the high road of self immolation. While being burned alive metaphorically sound like fun on a Friday night, the masses will reflect on it only enough to crave s'mores.

Kilgore Trout said...

nicely put man, nicely put.
I might have to steal that, with credit to its source of course. cause a source is a source of course of course... damn you mr. ed.

Teague said...

Lol.. s'more s'mores, please.

Let's give a shout-out to E-prime for starters (google that kids) and I would type more but I'm on my over priced, yet insanely cool, new cell phone. Yes, it starts with an "i" and yes, I know that is just as bad as "lite french fries". Or we could go one better and call them lite freedom fries. Now I'm eating healthy and being patriotic! Woo-f'ing-hoo.
Great blog B.