The Trouble with Semantics

Our presence in life is marked by two fundamental, irreplaceable factors: Existence and Consciousness.

Our spirit/soul is that which exists.

Our consciousness is that which allows us to be aware that we exist.

Life requires both.

Life’s purpose, at its most basic, is the maintenance, nurturing, and growth of our existence and consciousness. Lack of attention to this purpose will cause atrophy and perhaps eventual loss.

Leaders of modern thought assert that our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies – which are at the root of behaviors, perceptions, reactions, habits, symptoms, and more – provide concise and exquisite communications from our subconscious aspects. They inform us, whether by a whisper or a scream, of the needs required by our consciousness and existence for survival and growth, and give indications of how and where we have strayed from the path of our soul.

When we become aware of these signals it is because we are experiencing stress, illness, disease, and dysfunctional conditions in our relationships and in other areas of our lives. At the base of these symptoms lies a misalignment with reality; something in our relationship with truth has gone awry.

Let’s look at some of the fundamental issues that are frequently uncovered in my research and with my clients. I categorize them as falling into one of the following categories: Fear Based, Semantics Confusion, and Under-developed Philosophy.

In this post, we will focus on Semantics Confusion.

Semantics Confusion

The improper use of terms, when communicating, not only prevents proper and clear transmission of ideas and concepts between people, but ultimately distorts our perception of reality due to the misalignment of concepts with their descriptors. This distortion is not only a problem for the individual, but also radiates out into society where it spreads like memes or viruses.

The following list is only a few of the ways that we distort reality through our various means of communication.

Selfishness vs. altruism
•    A selfless act sets off a destructive force or cycle in life. Over time, with continued imposition, the result is resentment, burn out, and worse.
•    Altruism is an impossibility. It would require that no one take or keep anything for themselves, always giving more than they receive. The result is degradation, depletion, and eventually the inability to be of service.
•    “Sacred” selfishness indicates a person who preserves their values and virtues through every act and thought. Selfishness would include taking care of your children and all other values – not because of duty, but because they are such great values to you, that it is the supreme act of selfishness to preserve their continued existence in your world.
•    Would you rather have someone give you something, knowing they will be depleted in the act, or would you rather have them fulfill themselves and have replenished resources, and give to you out of their abundance?

Unconditional love
•    This term is an oxymoron. Love implies values, which require conditions. As you complete the exercise on constructing a value system, you will understand the complexity and importance of your values. And love is that which you value. Love and values are those people and things that are set apart as more precious to you than anything in the background, or wider field of choices. Conditions are parameters by which those choices are made. To say love is unconditional devalues everything.
•    The term unconditional love belittles your value system and everything that you hold dear.
•    Attempting to achieve unconditional love is fuel for guilt, duty, and other self-effacing negative energies.

Judgment vs. Prejudice
•    Judgment is required to support our value system. It is through judging that a person determines whether or not their friends will include people with destructive value systems and philosophies, or whether the path they choose for their lives will be life-enhancing or self-destructive. It is frequently confused with prejudice.
•    Prejudice is forming and adhering to an opinion without proper information. Prejudice is an act that has no grounding in reality, which in turn is an act of shrinking one’s consciousness.

Ego vs. Arrogance
•    Ego = I Am.  Why do people want to be rid of their ego? The recent trend of frowning upon the ego is gross misinterpretation of that the term and its essence. Our ego is our sense of self, and is a vital factor in the determination of our ethics, values, and virtues.
•    Arrogance is inflated or deflated ego. It is an improper alignment with reality that distorts the sense of self in a potentially destructive manner. Arrogance distorts reality.

Please keep in mind the importance of clear and concise communication. It is the responsibility of the communicator to convey precise concepts to the receiver. It is equally important that the person listening considers the validity and meaning of the words, and other forms of communication.

Rather than being a victim of bromides and slogans, think!

Think for yourself, think about what is being communicated, and think about the repercussions of those concepts.