Semantics: Language of Relevance

Language has evolved over centuries through ages of scarcity, superstition, and social insufficiency, and often contains ambiguity and uncertainty when important issues are at stake. Polar opposites are often implied — good or bad, beautiful or ugly, fast or slow, black or white, even though the world in which we live usually shows a large number of degrees between extremes. Our language also fails to use a precise and universally intelligible means of conveying knowledge, making it difficult for the average person to share ideas with others whose worldview may be very different than their own.

Many of us lack the skills to communicate logically when we are emotionally invested in an outcome. If a person or group has difficulty in communicating the point in question, rather than seeking clarification, they will raise their voices. If this doesn’t work, they may resort to physical violence, punishment, or deprivation as a means of achieving the desired behavior. Many of these attempts to control behavior actually increased violence and drove parties farther apart.

Designing a Language

We need a language that correlates highly with the environment and human needs. If we apply the same methods used in the physical sciences to psychology, sociology, and the humanities, a lot of unnecessary conflicts could be resolved. In engineering, mathematics, chemistry, and other technical fields, we have the nearest thing to a universal descriptive language that requires little in the way of individual interpretation. It is deliberately designed — as opposed to evolving haphazardly through centuries of cultural change — to state problems in terms that are verifiable and readily understood by most. You can find out more  in chapter three, Language of Relevance, of the book The Best That Money Can’t Buy by Jacque Fresco.

Extracting Relevant Information

We interpret what we see, hear, taste, touch or smell according to our previous experiences. This process is called associative memory. For example, an aeronautical engineer and a fashion designer might observe a jet engine but their individual perspective of it is very different.  The engineer has an education that allows her to understand how the engine functions, how its components are constructed and other technical factors whereas the fashion designer, even though he might have a superior eyesight, would only identify with the overall look of the engine. Information enters our memory only from our senses and experience, and we cannot transfer knowledge, bigotry, hatred or prejudice genetically — we acquire them from our culture. The education system today does not encourage critical thinking and questioning, therefore, the less information we have about a subject, the more distant it might seem to us.

This too applies to the language we use. Most of the time we hear a term and automatically assume it has universal meaning. Terms like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ have no physical reference but are often used by politicians to attract the attention of the public. In our current system, we are told that we are ‘free’ but we are only as ‘free’ as our purchasing power. Such words being used without relevance perpetuate abstract proclamations without offering tangible solutions. In an emerging global society, there would be no need for anyone to use such terms simply because their characteristics would be part of the environment and the social system. For example, people will not have to fight for “civil rights” or “black rights” or “women’s rights” as everyone has free access to all goods and services irrespective of creed and color. This assures that  their civil rights are met because they would be built into the social design. This is what a Resource Based Economy is about – designing an environment consisting of intrinsic mechanisms that meet the needs of all people helping to produce favorable behaviors as well.

Analyzing New Ideas

When we read and discuss new ideas, the information is automatically filtered through previous experiences and patterns of associative memory, and in many instances, we interpret something other than what was intended. To discuss the redesign of a culture in accordance with the knowledge and resources we have at hand we must learn to outgrow our egos in exchange for constructive dialogue rather than debate. We must be capable of stating problems and proposing solutions clearly and succinctly, without distortion of meaning or misunderstanding, even when these solutions are radically opposed to accepted norms.