Posted by ZERO on December 01, 2001 at 13:42:20:
In Reply to: the lost chord posted by d on December 01, 2001 at 11:57:23:
Were I to say that your writing about ideas is less a stream of consciousness than a bore what would be your reaction?
A bore is a strong tidal flow which comes at certain times up an estuary - with great force. You may have known that, known a more
perjorative meaning, balanced the two and still wondered what I meant.
You would have checked against what you already know of me through my postings and decided. Compliment or insult?
Point? Semantic differential. Stopped. Arrested. Rotate. Words carry, as you say, different meanings for different minds. Language
(as just a shorthand for thought) is both facilitator and barrier for
communication of minds. It is simultaneously enormously sophisticated and enormously crude. (Hence a picture is worth a thousand words...)
It is possible (I know because I fall into the trap myself) to leap at a trigger word in the other person's statement/question because it has a certain "meaning" for me, and continue parallel discussion with
them for some time, never meeting at any point, simply because their mental hinterland of the word is completely different to mine. We have been carrying on different conversations. I try to remember to
"define terms" at the outset to attempt to synchronise semantics, but
it is not easy.
Include the differences of age, sex, cultures (and sub-cultures),
time periods and languages, and semantic differential - particularly
of abstract concepts - really hampers our understanding of other
peoples' ideas and intentions - and their emotions.
(The MIT currently have AI programs based on developing "robotic
computers" which are sensitive to facial expressions and body
movements; they can simulate "emotions" - the same word labels the "facial" configurations of human and computer such as happy.
Semantically they are worlds apart).
Autistic children maybe themselves do not understand their emotions - or the reasons for them in the normal sense of the world. Limited by their inability to process receptive or expressive language as "normal" people do they can cope only if words carry specific, literal messages. Expressing (or understanding) their emotions must be nigh impossible, because emotions don't work like that.
Prince Charles is easier to explain. I don't think it was for expressing excessive emotion that he was castigated; certainly the architectural establishment were affronted at his cheek in making
public pronouncements on their territory in such colourful language
(semantics again) but most of the public didn't care one way or the other. Your second example is different and underpinned by the very public way the marriage had been conducted and the subsequent affection and sympathy the public (world) had for his wife. It was more remarked upon when the Queen, who the public felt showed scant
emotion on Diana's death showed visible distress subsequently at a ceremony for the giving up of her royal yacht.
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