Reality of Definitions
Posted Jan 24, 2012
Regardless of the language used, it is vitally important to keep in mind, and use properly as much as possible, the correct definition of the words you use. While it may currently be en vogue in some places to assign different definitions to certain words to make them "cooler", it is also dangerous in the long term, unless folks remember the original meanings. Changing the definition of words quite simply changes the way in which they are meant to be used, and thus can adversely affect our understanding of what we read.
The word "gay" long ago meant happy, not homosexual. In this case, the change in meaning most likely came from the simple fact of the more expressive, extroverted, "perkier" personality traits exhibited by some homosexuals compared to their more "stuffed shirt" hetero sexual friends.
Also, go learn about the original wording of the New Testaments. The "virginity" of the mother of Jesus had a slightly different meaning then today's version.
In the realm of politics, the USA is currently being torn apart by the misuse and intentional "mis-defining" of words. However, there are two which I see as the "umbrella words" for those poor definitions. Those words are:
Currently, they are misused to mean
- Conservative - mean, anti-gay, pro-Christian, money-hungry, old farts
- Liberal - tree-hugging, no morals, Godless, Labor-union, hippies
When the reality is that these words actually mean:
- Conservative - disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
- Liberal - favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
While some may argue that the correct
definition leads directly toward the currently used
ones, they are only right to a minor extent. The error can be illustrated in a simple truthful fashion like this:
A "liberal" in the true sense, sees a system as flawed and wants to change it. Those who've used the system a long time and like it are "conservative" about this issue, wanting to keep things as they are.
However, once those "liberals" succeed in making the changes they wanted, and enjoying the new system, eventually, along comes another generation who wish to make changes. Now those former "liberals" are suddenly "conservative" about their system, not wanting any changes.
And therein lie a hint toward possibly fixing certain cultural divides.
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