Like it or Not

There are subtle differences in our understanding of words that some people never explore.
I’ve been thinking again. Uh-oh!
Usually, my thoughts are about words and their meanings. Actually, the frequency that human beings misunderstand each other is my greatest fascination.
We have an understanding of what we ‘mean to say’ that sometimes doesn’t translate exactly ‘that way’ to others who speak the same language. I’m aware that language is somewhat fluid, but it seems there are people who use words ‘willy nilly’. I often wonder if they think about words at all.
Here’s my latest quandary:
When I’m asked if I ‘like’ something, to me, it’s asking, “am I fond of it?”. If you know me, I’ve usually already decided if I’m fond of, indifferent to, or dislike something.
What I’ve found out is that if I say I don’t particularly like a food item, the person asking sometimes ‘assumes’ that I dislike it. But most often, I’m just indifferent. To be placed on my ‘like’ list, I have to have a fondness for it or even occasional cravings for it.
In my experience, the indifferent group is my largest category. I’m hardly a fussy eater. My ‘dislike’ list is actually the smallest.
This difference in food preference interpretation, of course, brings me to a larger philosophical point.
The frequency that people find binary choices, or make binary conclusions, where they don’t actually exist. We’re complicated individual beings and deserve better. Life has countless variables and answers are seldom easy.
Taking the ‘binary’ shortcut is often just lazy and many times inconsequential. But it’s a devastating way to investigate problems, justice, or understanding.
I call this the “either/or” approach and think it’s extremely dangerous and divisive.
Once you place anyone on that ‘contrary therefore other’ list you have created a rift that has no possibility of being bridged.
Incidentally, those who take that route are bigots.
Don’t take that route. Expand to understand.
We’re all in this together!

SoCS Saturday 2/19/22- Whatever

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “whatever.” Use the word “whatever” any way you’d like. Bonus points if you start your post with it. Have fun!

Whatever you think about the word “whatever”, it is a powerful shapeshifter according to the circumstances when it’s used.
‘Whatever’ is a belligerent term packaged as casual and non-confrontational. But when a teenager uses it, the recipient is being told to politely “shut up” or it’s the useful ‘last word’ in a parental argument which is always required by any self-respecting adolescent.
However, when an adult uses it to end a discussion, it carries many more meanings. The recipient of the term can usually figure out which derogatory is meant and they are not flattering.
‘Whatever’ is oft spoken when the user has become uncomfortable or uninterested in a topic. This means “I’m done.”. But, ‘whatever’ sometimes mean you’re not making sense, or worse, you’re too ignorant to continue speaking with. At its most condescending, ‘whatever’ means your feelings/thoughts are of no interest at all so tell it to someone who cares.
Besides teenagers, who can’t help but be irritating, adults who use the term can easily be defined as ‘unfriendly’, ‘ignorant’, ‘disinterested’, or ‘cowards’.
The best use of the term is when we apply it to ourselves. Then, and only then, is it a positive expression.
If your husband trims off your early spring tulips while mowing the lawn, ‘whatever’ is probably the best attitude since ‘what’s done is done’.
So, when teens say ‘whatever’ it’s a “smartass” term.
When adults engaged in conversation say it, it’s a “rude” term.
When you say it to yourself, it’s an effort to stay “calm”.
BUT there are some people who should refrain from using it altogether!
Here’s a short list:
Pilots while speaking to passengers during turbulence.
Surgeons operating on semi-conscious patients.
Military officers in the heat of battle.
And women in response to marriage proposals.

Have a great Saturday, or whatever. 😉