6.8 Billion

Language is binary.

No matter how you describe things as long as it is with words, you cannot get too accurate. Indeed, the concept of accuracy in words is not apparent until the discussion moves to emotions. In every other case, it seems quite clear that when you describe something, you are either “right” about it, or “wrong” about it. This is because we model reality not on reality, but on words. (I take Wittgenstein’s view in that “facts” exist, not “things”) This leads to things like the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis / idea of linguistic relativity, which states that different languages with their different words actually means that we live in different worlds.  (i.e. I am with the strong interpretation) Again, when strong emotions are involved, this concept becomes pretty obviously a more accurate model of reality – two people can have the exact same ability to do something, but the one feeling good will perform better than the other in that instance.

It is possible to die just because you feel bad: shock.
It is possible to heal just because you were “told” to feel good: placebo.

These models of reality are formed largely by action. I went fishing with a friend I’ve known almost as long as I can remember a few days ago. We’ve never been particularly close until we went to college; it was more of a “our parents are friends so I guess we’ll be friends” kind of thing. Of the little I did know of him, he always stuck out to me as impatient and a braggart. However, when we went fishing, the whole day made it abundantly clear that he had changed. His claim was that fishing itself – that it was “peace and calamity” – changed his way of looking at everything else. Rather than be mad on days when he didn’t catch anything or anything good, or failed somewhere along the way, he just relaxed. Until the tip moved, at which point it was all focus and work.

I have a different model of reality, because I do not go fishing. Almost all of my recreation – Starcraft 2, weightlifting, kendo, cycling – is all about repetition and creating incrementally better changes. After casting a couple of times (I’ve never gone fishing before), I asked him if it was okay to just use one of the rods to just practice casting. For me, it was a natural followup: if i need to improve, do it more and it’ll fix itself. But fishing isn’t the same. Though it is about the fight, you can’t just tell the fishes to fight whenever you want to practice. As a result, the philosophy adapts to the reality. This is why “fake it till you make it” works.

“The reality”, not “that specific slice of reality”. To him, that is reality. Weightlifting, Kendo, Cycling do not exist to him because he does not participate in them. Fishing to me does not exist. For him, it was a fun and relaxing day. For me, I was just bored and tired from staring at the pole waiting for something to happen. It is not inaccurate to say we lived and continue to live in different worlds. Of course it is also not inaccurate to say we just felt differently about the same thing, but that seems to put the emphasis on how we looked at things rather than what we looked at.

This fact becomes a problem in communication. As usual, the issue is not that the issue exists, but that we fail to recognize it. As everyone has different things to do and has experienced different things in differing distributions, everyone ends up living in different worlds with their unique models of reality.

The catch is that we all convey our ideas using “the same language”.

This is why communication is never really about what you’re saying.

It’s about how you use it, and how you interpret it.

*********

Oh, and as a side note, I’m not going to link to every former explanation of a concept anymore unless it’s recent.  The last two or three times I’ve done it have ended up looking like a mess, so I’ll trust that you will look in my “seminal posts” category for the relevant post if I refer to something you don’t understand.

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4 thoughts on “6.8 Billion

  1. Pingback: Anyone Who Calls “Discrimination!” Is A Scrub « All Else Is Halation

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