I have recently read condemnation of people from earlier generations not having the same sensibilities that we do. While I think it is important to learn from inappropriate thought processes of earlier generations – is it really helpful for us to judge them according to the same standard we hold people of today to?
Do we hold our former self to the same level of condemnation? If we do – is that really helpful? Do we tear ourselves down for our previous beliefs? Do we hold our children to their past beliefs and condemn them for them? Those all seem to be symptoms of a greater problem – believing that we have all the correct answers now and therefore we don’t have anything more to learn.
I think that the more we worry about how stupid or shortsighted people of earlier generations were (or even our own) – the more we hold back our own growth journeys.
I read a post on Facebook today where someone used less when the “correct” word was fewer. Or was it the other way around? Which ever it was, someone corrected the poster and another chimed in and was disappointed that they weren’t the ones to point out the error.
Isn’t the point of communicating to convey meaning? Is there anyone who is honestly confused when someone uses “less” instead of “fewer”? If there is no room for confusion – why do we want to hold so tightly to the difference? Let the words become true synonyms.
(For those that aren’t sure of what the difference is – use fewer when something can be counted and less when it can’t be counted.)
There are times when poor grammar can truly lead to an ambiguous meaning – in that case, it is probably wise to clarify what is meant. And yes, it can be fun to joke with a loved one about possible double meanings or erroneous word choices. However, it has been my observation that for the most part, the one doing the correcting is more interested in being right than in understanding. At least that’s what I observe in myself when I am “concerned” with someone’s grammar and word usage.
I attended government run schools, but I don’t remember much of specifics that I learned there. However one particular lesson has stayed with me very vividly since I learned it almost 30 years ago.
We were doing a unit on semantics – the study of meaning in language. The teacher stood in the front of the room with only his middle finger raised. There were a few whispers and maybe even a giggle or two.
He said, “What? I’m just holding up my middle finger.”
We went on to discuss that words and symbols only have the meaning that we give them.
How often do we forget that others may not have the same meaning attached to words that we do? I think this is definitely that case when it comes to words in the realm of voluntaryism: anarchy, government, law, public, etc.
We can either complain about the differences in our semantics – or we can try to understand what those words mean to them. If we do this, perhaps we can find common ground to reason together.
Very interesting thoughts by Skyler on child misbehavior.
It is my understanding that ALL choices that everyone makes are done to fulfill some unmet need. Even if we are incorrect in our calculation that the need will be met or are unaware consciously of what that need is.
What is “misbehavior” anyway but choices that someone else makes that we don’t approve of? In other words – someone else does something that contributes to our own sense of unease and unmet needs and we call it “misbehavior”.
When I say to someone “I need to be true to myself” could I really be saying:
“I want you to perceive me as I intend to be perceived without me going to the trouble of understanding things from your perspective”.
In other words. If our behaviors are being perceived by others in a way we don’t intend – is that really being true to ourselves? Perhaps striving to understand how another sees us and modifying our behaviors based on that understanding is being even more true to ourselves.
When we find ourselves deciding on a course of action because of the “principle of it” – take a moment and ponder this question:
What principle is it I am sticking to?
My experience is that sometimes (if not most times) the principle that I am sticking to is the one – “I am right”.