about-words

I re-labeled my blog “www.about-words.com” and I will be adding pages focusing on various popular words. So far, I have only added one new page about the word “God:” http://www.about-words.com/on-god/ plus you can click this recent link to an article on faith: “http://www.onfaith.info.”

God Module

God Module (Photo credit: Ydolon)

However, as a little bonus, below are a few posts about the presumptive use of nouns like “scurvy” and “baldness” and “darkness” as if those terms refer to a physical substance. If you are not already clear about this distinction, then I promise that this content will “blow your mind.”

Look at the image on the right. Notice that there are areas of light contrasting with areas with less light or even no light, which can be labeled the dark areas or “the darkness,” but there is no actual tangible darkness.

There is some light. There is some smoke. There are some hard-to-see physical substances that are only visible as outlines of shadow or silhouette, but there is no physical darkness.

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  The light
shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.  “
http://bible.cc/john/1-5.htm

Why can light “cast out” darkness? Because there is no physical substance to darkness. It’s kind of like depositing some money in to an empty bank account and then saying you have “cast out” the zero balance.

English: Night geocache. Only in darkness refl...

English: Night geocache. Only in darkness reflectors are visible when illuminated by flash light. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deutsch: Glatze

Deutsch: Glatze (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, when the earth rotates and part of the earth is facing away from the sun, is that portion of the earth possessed by night or by darkness? What if someone lights a match in the dark (and then lights a candle)? What happens to the darkness? Where does it go? There never was any darkness except in language, right?

Red light buld in darkness

Darkness and baldness and scurvy are just labels, like a label on a jar of pickles or the symbolic letters on the cover of a book (the “title”). Darkness is a label for noticing the absence of visible light. Baldness is a label for noticing the absence of hair (especially where hair might have been expected).

I took this photograph April 7, 2006. Edited w...

I took this photograph April 7, 2006. Edited with Adobe Photo Elements 3.0. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Metaphorically, we could say that any creature that is blind or has no eyes “lives in total darkness.” However, darkness simply does not physically exist. Darkness is just a linguistic category (a label). It only exists in language (“spiritually“).

Anyone who is not clear on the issue of labels in language may be said to “have eyes, but is not be able to see.” That is just poetry or metaphor, though, right?

“But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.  “
http://bible.cc/1_john/2-11.htm – 18k

If someone shaves the hair from some part of their body, such as their legs, then are their legs bald? Are they “possessed” by baldness (or by bald legs)? Of course not, right?

So, here is where it gets really interesting. Diagnostic labels like scurvy and diabetes and cancer may be used according to the ancient linguistic model (belief system) of demonic possession. However, an absence of a particular vitamin does not “possess” anyone.

English: This patient presented with a “scorbu...

English: This patient presented with a “scorbutic tongue” due to what proved to be a vitamin C deficiency. The condition referred to as “scorbutic tongue”, i.e., related to scurvy, involves inflammation of the tongue, or glossitis, which includes areas of erythema and petechial submucosal hemorrhages. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The accumulation of a particular substance does not possess anyone either. It would be recognized as ridiculous to say “I am a possessed by a condition that causes the accumulation of breast milk in my breasts.” However, the linguistic model of demonic possession is typically accepted unquestioningly in regard to being “possessed by a condition that causes the accumulation of tumors.”

However, mammary glands do not possess anyone, nor does puberty. Further, a jar of pickles is not “possessed” by a label that says “pickles.”

Likewise, when there is the presence of enough nourishment to sustain life, but very little vitamin C, then the natural consequences of that biochemical reality can be labeled “scurvy” (or “scurvy symptoms”). The human linguistic act of the labeling of the presence of various vitamins (other than vitamin C) cannot possess anyone.

In other words, scurvy cannot possess anyone. Scurvy is not a physical substance, but just a linguistic category, like darkness.

Scorbutic gums, a symptom of scurvy. Note ging...

Scorbutic gums, a symptom of scurvy. Note gingival redness in the triangle shaped interdental papillae (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Labels cannot possess anyone: not the label of scurvy, not baldness, not blindness, not darkness, and not cancer nor diabetes nor autism. However, just like physical labels can be placed on jars, so can labels be “placed on” people or organisms. In some cultures, this may be called placing a curse or a hex on someone (or simply a “sentence” or “diagnosis”).

Further, the English word “devil” originates from the ancient term dia-bolos (as in diabolical), which literally means to throw a confusing label across something or someone (like to vilify or demonize). Ironic, huh?

So, when a person does not know much about the physiology and pathology of a particular biochemical condition, they may say to someone else “you are demonically possessed by an incurable illness.” The ignorance of the speaker (the lack of linguistic intelligence or development or refinement), if combined with an ignorantly trusting listener who “does not know any better,” can result in the listener believing (perceiving, labeling) that there is a physical presence of something such as scurvy when in fact it is just a linguistic label (ultimately, for a particular kind of ignorance of physiology).

2003-03-04 - Baldness

2003-03-04 – Baldness (Photo credit: cfinke)

English: Advertisement for treatment against b...

English: Advertisement for treatment against baldness in French periodical Le Pèlerin Français : Publicité pour un remède-miracle contre la calvitie dans Le Pèlerin du 14 décembre 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To me, science is a religion. Why? Because science uses words!

Words involve perception. As scientists refine their perception and their terminology, they create more and more precise measurements and predictive models. The history of science is the history of the recognition of prior models (like “the earth is flat”) to be “imprecise” and “presumptive.”

The idea that the sun revolves around the earth was eventually replaced by a “more precise” model, but every new “more precise model” is subject to being replaced or refined by an “even more precise” model that is newer (or perhaps rediscovered).

Further, it is generally practical to ignore that the entire earth is rather spherical. For most people, the earth is mostly flat, but with lots of little exceptions to the flatness, like slopes and hills and waves of water. Maybe that means that, in some places, the earth has been “demonically possessed” by incurable curvature and roundness. 😉

My related links:

https://jrfibonacci.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/incurable-illness/

http://about-words.com/2012/03/29/how-to-save-the-world-humor/

https://jrfibonacci.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/128%-of-scientists-are-easily-misled-by-cancerous-headlines/

https://jrfibonacci.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/appreciating-the-language-of-an-incurable-diagnosis/

https://jrfibonacci.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/dissolving-the-fear-of-logic-and-clarity/

Now, you can click the link to read the next feature article on the http://www.about-words.com website: http://www.about-words.com/on-God/

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One Response to “about-words”

  1. Thomas La Grua Says:

    It’s fascinating how we’ve inverted (our perception of reality). Yet reality as a matter of fact remain within/as the words; sorcery perhaps? Thanks

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