Friday, December 11, 2015

Words are a Form of Conjecture

A word is a word, but the understanding of a word both depends on the speaker, as well as the listener. Both have a responsibility to contribute to the atmosphere of any given conversation.

As a writer, I can take any word and put it into any context to make it either offensive or supportive in nature.

In the past, it was the listener's responsibility to understand the speaker based on the contexture in which a word or phrase was used, given the speaker's implied intent.

Today, we live in a world where the speaker is responsible for interpreting how the listener will interpret the conveyed meaning. The listener has the right to dissect the speakers words out of the spoken context and imply a meaning of their own without having to explain their intentional misunderstanding of what was said in order to change the conversation in the direction from how it was intended to be considered. The listener today has the right to hijack the words of the speaker and intentionally skew them to reflect on the speaker any discernment the listener intends.

This fundamental concept is exactly why you are afraid of who you may offend with what you may say and it is backward and wrong. A listener should be held accountable for their intentional misunderstanding.

Still, that doesn't stop the speaker from being responsible for their implied meaning even if the meaning was intended to be benign in the spirit it was given.

Mark Twain is the perfect example. In his time, his attitude may have reflected the majority opinion of the culture. He may have had racist points of view given the society he lived in.

But NO ONE can deny the fact that his work, "Huckleberry Finn" outlined a disparity in an ethnically divided society and advanced the conversation of equality to a degree. His work was considered inflammatory against the status quo.

And yet today, we allow people of low intelligence, low education and absolutely no critical thinking skill to hijack a valuable part of the dialogue for equal rights by belittling the speaker's contribution simply because of a single word he used in a dialogue that was intended to stun its original audience into seeing their flaws. He wanted the people of his time to wake up and see how obtuse they were.

But those of us with critical thinking skills and have informed opinions are afraid to correct these individuals with no critical thinkings skills because we know we are not only responsible for what we say as a rebuttal, but we are also responsible for how these low thinking, uneducated individuals from ALL corners of our society and global culture can and WILL intentionally misinterpret our rebuttals to tear down the voice of reason through character assassination.


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