Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is starts with “u.” Find a word that starts with the letter “u” and use it however you’d like. Bonus points if it’s the first word in your post. Enjoy!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t online for a few days but upon my return this morning I found this prompt perfect for a little jaunt down memory lane. My word is “ugly”. My Mom has always emphasized good grammar. Word meanings were also important. One particular pet peeve of hers was the use of “probably” and “possibly” interchangeably. Those words are NOT interchangeable. The former means “more than likely” or “an excellent chance” and the latter means “there’s a chance” or “it’s 50/50 odds” that something will happen. Well, on the same word meaning examination angle, Mom always told us to say “homely” to describe mildly unattractive people or animals. The word “ugly” was reserved for only the “grotesque” images. Here’s my associated tale: My grandma was a farmer and, of course, from the older generation. I don’t know if it’s a ‘country thing’ or an ‘elder thing’ but Grandma expressed herself often in idiomatic terms. “Make hay will the sun shines” “Between a rock and a hard place” “At sixes and sevens” were all frequently heard and Many, Many, more! I was about six years old and likely being a pest to my very busy, hard-working, Grandma when she said to me, “If you keep that up, I’ll get ‘ugly’.” I specifically remember studying Grandma’s face thinking, “My wonderful Grandma could never be ugly.” Of course, all went along well thereafter because whatever I’d been doing gave way to quiet contemplation of her odd word usage. Not long after that, Grandma instructed me to stay safely in the car while she spoke to a neighbor in the neighbor’s dooryard because, ” We don’t know if that farm dog in the yard is “ugly” or not.” When I observed the BEAUTIFUL German shepherd (He was far from even homely.), I figured out what she meant by ‘ugly’! LOL The world and my grandma’s words had become clear. Ugly meant ‘mean’, ‘vicious’ or ‘mad’!
To this day, I can ‘ace’ the Jeopardy category on American Idioms just from having spent time on the farm with my beloved Grandma. 😀 Hope you all had a wonderful Saturday and none of you got ‘ugly’!
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!
There are so many tangents this question can produce. It’s taken me a long time to work out my thoughts toward the briefest and least complex answer to the exact question. There’s a whole intellectual course of study on “semantics”. Our human ability for language, as remarkable as it is, has its own ‘minefields’. There are cultural divides when it comes to understanding each other, as well as many nuances in defining our most human complex concepts. I simply cannot keep up with modern efforts at redefining once widely held understandings! Here’s my thought process on the question (It is thoroughly a scientific method examination of the language not a judgement on the concepts we’re using.) A previous discussion I had with our friend Fandango, produced an interesting difference in our understanding of this language. As many emotionally charged topics do, I think that we each jumped back and forth from the meaning of words into the endless quagmire of the meaning of a higher Truth. A darn dangerous leap for sure! I don’t think either of us claimed we were ‘correct’ and left the discussion on the understanding that we were simply “talking past each other”. Do you believe that atheism is a set of religious beliefs or is a religion in any sense? If so, why? If not, why not? Or, do you have no opinion on the matter or just don’t care one way or the other? My answer is: Yes, it’s a religious belief and I’m not sure whether it could be called a ‘religion’. Atheism’s ‘believers’ (Making a definitive conclusion on an unprovable concept is a belief.) certainly ‘take on’ some of the qualities of religious people (certainty, easily offended by disapproval, somewhat organized) but it doesn’t really have tangible tenants. So, I’ll claim unsure on that. As for my opinion that atheism is a ‘religious belief’? It comes down to my understanding that it’s a position, belief, or claim within (and regarding) the topic of religion. That, in my world, is a ‘religious belief’. The example I used to explain a similar dynamic was the concept of politics. One simply cannot have an opinion on politics that isn’t-by default- a ‘political opinion/belief’. An apolitical person, with no opinion on politics, is the opposite of one who is political. In the same way, an agnostic person (who doesn’t want to enter into a religious discussion) is the true opposite of holding a ‘religious belief’. It seems an unpleasant, unfriendly, conclusion made only according to my understanding of the semantics because an atheist basically wants to be anything but religious. Saying that technically-when applying the rules of language- their position is a ‘religious’ one, obviously would inspire push back and reaction. No offense is intended. It’s only an opinion with reasons. 😉 One of my statements during the discussion that inspired this wonderful question bears repeating… “No one has the power to offend or change you, if you don’t give it to them.”
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.
I realized this morning that the most beautiful gifts from others are words of encouragement.
Facebook gets some very bad press. Yes, there is always a bad side to good things but I’d like to discuss the good side for a moment.
Our busy lives have distanced us from loved ones and friends. Through Facebook, I have reconnected with former schoolmates and distant family. I’ve made a few new friends too. This medium has had a profound effect on the quality of my life.
I’ve met people who would be otherwise housebound and alone if not for computer socializing. Online relationships give us a chance to see people as they are, beautiful souls with encouraging words, insightful comments and something to share.
I am thankful to all my Facebook family for reminding me to offer encouragement to others, as often as I can, whether they are “in person” or online. Your comments have given me comfort and I believe it is very important to pass this on.
Mensen maken de samenleving en nemen daarin een positie in. Deze website geeft toegang tot een diversiteit aan artikelen die gaan over 'samenleven', belicht vanuit verschillende perspectieven. De artikelen hebben gemeen dat er gezocht wordt naar wat 'mensen bindt, in plaats van wat hen scheidt'.