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Heart of Space

The Spiritual Grammar Police Problem

16 posts in this topic

A lot of conversations about spirituality devolve down to criticizing things that don't matter.  This is something that I've observed quite often.  

How we choose to express ourselves through language is entirely subjective.  Language is simply a tool.  Language can but does not necessarily carry with us our ideology, or underlying beliefs and assumptions.  There's no point in being critical about someone's language use unless the tool of language is being used poorly and the idea's are not being properly understood. 

As far as language that assumes an "other."  I think it's ridiculous to police ourselves to such a degree that we avoid any reference to "individual other."  I think you are limiting yourself to a great degree.  I mean if you want to get down to it, simply responding and writing responses on a forum equally assumes that there is an "individual other" as much as any other post even if you are careful about how you write.  That being said, I am not making that criticism of anyone, I'm only pointing out the hypocrisy of even bringing up that criticism in the first place when you are on a forum interacting.  

I would contend that it is absolutely not necessary to manicure our language to incorporate all spiritual understanding.  It may very well be truth that we are not the body for example.  Regardless, would you still refer to "my body" or "your body" when communicating?  Of course you would, no matter how enlightened you are or think you are, you are still going to use language that seems to have implicit falsehood in it.  Does it necessarily have implicit falsehood in it?  Absolutely not.  Language itself does not have falsehood in it, your ego-mind is where the falsehood is if it exists.  

Example:

"Enlighted" person says "my body" and "your body."  There is no falsehood, just a practical use of language.  

"Unenlightened" person says "my body" and "your body."  There is falsehood within the person using the language, but you still cannot assume falsehood by the language alone.  

That's why most criticisms of the use of language and the implicit assumptions are often not effective.  In order to have the conversation to begin with people have to be transparent, honest, self-aware, and willing participants in the conversation.  You cannot simply assume that because someone says "my body" or "your body" that they believe falsehood about the nature of "my" and "your."  Ultimately they are just words, not assumptions on their own.  

Main point being is, be open minded to the use of language others have.  

 

 

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Counter point-

We generally think in the language that we speak.  There are certain thoughts you can not even have simply because you lack the vocabulary to have them. 

By being more precise in our language, we can be more precise in our thinking.  Criticizing grammar and language isn't necessarily to prevent language from being 'false'.. it's all about creating better maps and pointers. 

While I agree that it seems rather silly to 'talk to others about solipsism' for example, in reality, it's no sillier than 'talking to yourself' about solipsism.  You have no problem 'talking to yourself' without assuming there are 2 of you talking. 

One area in particular, where the language we think in is very important, is the topic of 'self'.  There is a big difference in how reality is understood between an organism that has the thought, 'I am thinking my thoughts', and one that has the thought, 'thoughts are arising'.   
 

Edited by Mason Riggle

"I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people."

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1 minute ago, Mason Riggle said:

Counter point-

We generally think in the language that we speak.  There are certain thoughts you can not even have simply because you lack the vocabulary to have them. 

By being more precise in our language, we can be more precise in our thinking.  Criticizing grammar and language isn't necessarily to prevent language from being 'false'.. it's all about creating better maps and pointers. 

While I agree that it seems rather silly to 'talk to others about solipsism', for example, in reality, it's no sillier than 'talking to yourself' about solipsism.  You have no problem 'talking to yourself' without assuming there are 2 of you talking. 

One area in particular, where the language we think in is very important, is the topic of 'self'.  There is a big difference in how reality is understood between an organism that has the thought, 'I am thinking my thoughts', and one that has the thought, 'thoughts are arising'.   
 

I actually do appreciate one forum post I saw with Leo saying something along the lines of “human language does a shit job at portraying truth” which resonated with me haha.

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@CBDinfused some language is better than others.   The map is not the territory, but some maps are higher resolution than others. 


"I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people."

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19 minutes ago, Heart of Space said:

I think you are limiting yourself to a great degree. 

There is no I

There is no You

This post doesn't make sense becouse it doesn't satisfy my strict no-self terminlogy standards

LOL xD

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I know much of what the OP is talking about. People getting into petty corrections such as “but there is no I. Who is this I?” far too often when both parties already fully well understand this aspect of Nonduality. It’s a fruitless nondual pissing contest which usually goes nowhere or is simply a waste of time compared to the rest of the discussion. 
 

My criticism is that people need to be clear when they are using common words in specified ways. The example of Leo with the word omniscience comes to mind. If you have a very nuanced meaning for a word which is quite different from accepted definitions and connotations, it’s only counterproductive to write without clarifying your personal meaning for the word at least a little bit. 


“Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near — a disciple of mine sees all consciousness as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’” - the Tathāgata

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@BipolarGrowth sometimes what seems like a petty distinction is rather important to 'third parties' who may just be reading along, and don't 'already fully well understand'... this creates confusion for them that often requires clarification. In fact, it seems that most 'disagreement' in spiritual debate stems from semantics.  It's uncanny how often two people describe the same concept so differently as to think they are describing two different concepts.  So often there's a meme about it. 

stan-carey-indo-european-jones-meme-whyd-it-have-to-be-semantics.jpg

Edited by Mason Riggle
Edited for grammar

"I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people."

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1 hour ago, Mason Riggle said:

@BipolarGrowth sometimes what seems like a petty distinction is rather important to 'third parties' who may just be reading along, and don't 'already fully well understand'... this creates confusion for them that often requires clarification. In fact, it seems that most 'disagreement' in spiritual debate stems from semantics.  It's uncanny how often two people describe the same concept so differently as to think they are describing two different concepts.  So often there's a meme about it. 

stan-carey-indo-european-jones-meme-whyd-it-have-to-be-semantics.jpg

The idea of guests reading something does support the need for such behavior a bit more. But as I said, I’m all for people clarifying  their definitions. 


“Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near — a disciple of mine sees all consciousness as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’” - the Tathāgata

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1 hour ago, BipolarGrowth said:

I know much of what the OP is talking about. People getting into petty corrections such as “but there is no I. Who is this I?” far too often when both parties already fully well understand this aspect of Nonduality. It’s a fruitless nondual pissing contest which usually goes nowhere or is simply a waste of time compared to the rest of the discussion. 
 

My criticism is that people need to be clear when they are using common words in specified ways. The example of Leo with the word omniscience comes to mind. If you have a very nuanced meaning for a word which is quite different from accepted definitions and connotations, it’s only counterproductive to write without clarifying your personal meaning for the word at least a little bit. 

Very reasonable point.  We definitely can and should still have discussions over use of language if the topic discussed merits it.  

I think you get my point very well.  I just don't like seeing conversations devolve into petty squabbles over use of language when it's unhelpful or unnecessary.  Some people here need to read my original post over and over until they get it, because some people on here are really awful in this regard.  Like REALLY awful.   There's a big difference between what I'm criticizing and a genuine philosophical analysis of language and definitions.  

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1 hour ago, Heart of Space said:

Very reasonable point.  We definitely can and should still have discussions over use of language if the topic discussed merits it.  

I think you get my point very well.  I just don't like seeing conversations devolve into petty squabbles over use of language when it's unhelpful or unnecessary.  Some people here need to read my original post over and over until they get it, because some people on here are really awful in this regard.  Like REALLY awful.   There's a big difference between what I'm criticizing and a genuine philosophical analysis of language and definitions.  

You seem to get what I’m saying. Some people seem to misunderstand me. I’m saying that, when someone says “I ate a sandwich” in the context of a post where someone is clearly using understanding which would indicate they know the difference between ego self and Self, it is usually of almost no value to say “hehe, but who is this I who made a sandwich?” 
 

That is an example of an abuse of clarification in my opinion. Not all cases where people here point to the “I” are like this. Many are actually useful, but many of them are also condescending, unnecessary, and look to me like some type of philosophical jiu jitsu move to outwit the other person which is way overused and stinks of unhealthy ego. 
 

But as I said there are many cases where words are not used as they are commonly understood. These cases would see an overall improvement if the people using a personalized definition would take the time to at least give a brief idea as to how their individual definition which is being used differs from how it might commonly be read. Semantics are very important in this work. We all could communicate more effectively in this domain. The ability to have someone understand what you mean when talking about complex or deep topics is a type of spiritual skill on its own. 

Edited by BipolarGrowth

“Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near — a disciple of mine sees all consciousness as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’” - the Tathāgata

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When it comes to language. I've noticed in myself and a few other users clinging onto their own definitions of words like "thought" and "feeling" as gospel, and as the only acceptable way to use them. 

11 hours ago, BipolarGrowth said:

It’s a fruitless nondual pissing contest 

The verbal pissing contests will go on forever, since apparently we're trying to reach a transcendental realm. A realm where you're like God with a piece of void/blank paper, having absolute freedom and control over the conceptual landscapes you invent and use. Treating language like play-doh 

Context context context 

Edited by lmfao

Hark ye yet again — the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event — in the living act, the undoubted deed — there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught beyond. But 'tis enough.

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5 minutes ago, BipolarGrowth said:

But as I said there are many cases where words are not used as they are commonly understood. These cases would see an overall improvement if the people using a personalized definition would take the time to at least give a brief idea as to how their individual definition which is being used differs from how it might commonly be read. Semantics are very important in this work. We all could communicate more effectively in this domain. The ability to have someone understand what you mean when talking about complex or deep topics is a type of spiritual skill on its own. 

I'm not really targeting real philosophical discussion between two people who are debating semantics on good faith with each other.  There's nothing wrong with those discussions.  There is, however, something wrong with people using it as a rhetorical tool to dominate or win a conversation.  Unfortunately, the latter of the two is far more common.   

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36 minutes ago, lmfao said:

When it comes to language. I've noticed in myself and a few other users clinging onto their own definitions of words like "thought" and "feeling" as gospel, and as the only acceptable way to use them. 

The verbal pissing contests will go on forever, since apparently we're trying to reach a transcendental realm. A realm where you're like God with a piece with a piece of void/blank paper, having absolute freedom and control over the conceptual landscapes you invent and use. Treating language like play-doh 

Context context context 

Yeah the pissing contests will likely go on here as long as the forum exists. This thread and my posts are just all about trying to help us be a little more aware of when we’re pissing and to try to piss less in the forum ? 

27 minutes ago, Heart of Space said:

I'm not really targeting real philosophical discussion between two people who are debating semantics on good faith with each other.  There's nothing wrong with those discussions.  There is, however, something wrong with people using it as a rhetorical tool to dominate or win a conversation.  Unfortunately, the latter of the two is far more common.   

I know you’re not targeting that. I was just adding some more distinction between the two. 


“Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near — a disciple of mine sees all consciousness as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’” - the Tathāgata

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24 minutes ago, BipolarGrowth said:

I know you’re not targeting that. I was just adding some more distinction between the two. 

Oh I see, thanks for doing that.  You're so cute in your avatar, thanks for joining me in this thread.  

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4 hours ago, Mason Riggle said:

@BipolarGrowth sometimes what seems like a petty distinction is rather important to 'third parties' who may just be reading along, and don't 'already fully well understand'... this creates confusion for them that often requires clarification. In fact, it seems that most 'disagreement' in spiritual debate stems from semantics.  It's uncanny how often two people describe the same concept so differently as to think they are describing two different concepts.  So often there's a meme about it. 

stan-carey-indo-european-jones-meme-whyd-it-have-to-be-semantics.jpg

To an outside reader, you will want to use COMPLETELY dualistic terminology. When I explain my beliefs to people that is how I do so... Start at full-on dualistic terms and once each part is realized, strip down a layer of that onion.

This is the only way a third party will understand wtf you are getting at. The quickest route usually involves utilizing dream logic.

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8 hours ago, BipolarGrowth said:

This thread and my posts are just all about trying to help us be a little more aware of when we’re pissing and to try to piss less in the forum ? 

Indeed good sir

Edited by lmfao

Hark ye yet again — the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event — in the living act, the undoubted deed — there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught beyond. But 'tis enough.

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