September 24, 2012


Let me preface this by saying, I completely understand and mostly agree with Locke's explanation of language, words, sensations and all of it. But I think an interesting thought in regards to it is how language and sensations are so immensely personal to us and yet they are also the thing that connects us the most to one another.

Everyone has the same identified emotions and words that correlate, i.e., happy, sad, scared, angry. But those words and feelings all come with a different mental image, or instance or feeling depending on the person. For example, there are people who identify themselves sexually as liking physical pain whereas that's taboo in our society and we think of it as unconventional, weird or perhaps a little scary. And coming from someone who doesn't identify themselves as such, I get the mental picture of blood, bruises, people screaming. But to those that do, that idea would bring about feelings of sensualness, excitement, enticement. And the mental picture might come across as something of people making love, or smiling faces. It's the same act but because of the words we use to arbitrarily use to define those varying emotions they come across societally very different. 

And in a similar vein, with a less explicit example, smiling is known globally. I grew up hearing that a smile was the same in every language but there are countless reasons for them each different deepening on person and situation. We are completely related to one another because of the idea of what a smile means but truthfully worlds apart in meaning. Because there is no true way to pinpoint a word for what that physical reaction is to a situation. The closest we get is happy but that doesn't quite do it. Who's to say that happy isn't actually a terrible, dirty, curse word that we have simply redefined to mean something society officially accepts as good and normal. 

I'm not sure I've done a fantastic job at getting my point across, I just think it's interesting to look at how vastly different our commonalities make us while trying to identify the same thing. All because language and words are actually meaningless until defined otherwise. 

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