Friday, February 14, 2014

About the meaning of words again

The problem with words is the same as the problem we may have with any other type of behavior: each one of us has his or her memory of his or her own particular personal experience with words. 

The meaning of words in the dictionary needs to be taken in consideration. But getting knowledge of that stated “official” meaning of a word is just the beginning of a long process. Words and their meaning will become in some way always private and more or less sensitive property through our own experience of them and of life.

More important than the dispassionate meaning of words as stated in a dictionary is my personal feeling about words and what they are supposed to mean. Feelings, ideas, and thoughts mix with each other so easily. What counts then is the amount of total meaning of each word for me. Words become objects indeed. Like swords or like flowers.

We should be aware of this situation when we are dealing or communicating with others and most of the time we are not - or we are only partially aware of it. That may be an explanation for many conflicts and pain in our lives and for our failure in getting along with someone we thought we could get along with. We didn’t know enough about the previous life experiences of that person and about the meaning of words for her. Instead of inspiring good feelings, sympathy, curiosity and interest, we caused pain and discomfort unintentionally and without being aware of it.

It may happen that we did not have the time to get acquainted with someone we liked because the words we uttered and our behavior reminded her of previous experiences and were an immediate source of pain, suspicion and misunderstanding for her. She took us for what we are not and our behavior for what it was not.

How could we anticipate it? We were just candidly using words with the meaning we give them and behaving naively. We didn’t know enough about that person’s previous good or bad experiences with people or situations that she were reminded of when talking to us and getting acquainted wit us.

Are we all in one way or another traumatized by some previous experience in our life? Relationships are not an easy thing to deal with and to understand.

This is also a good way to explain why a poem or a novel or any literary text may be interpreted and felt so differently by different readers. Reading or listening cannot be understood independently of who and what we are and of all the past experience that made us who and what we are.

We are who and what we are and we are it all the time (everything is permanently moving and changing, yes, but even so we are something in particular differentiated from other things in particular). To any situation, including a relationship, we go with everything we are even if we will never know exactly and clearly what we are.

J. E. Soice

P. S. When I first met her she was talking to me. But very soon she started seeing me as someone else (who? I don't know) and talking to that ghost in her previous life, not to me. It seems that it happens all the time with all of us but we are not aware of it. Isn't it unfortunate?

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