When a speaker is using a word like ‘beautiful,’ it should be followed by an explanation of what the speaker means by beautiful. In 1960, Prof. Ken Johnson found out that 500 of the most used words in the English language, the Oxford Dictionary lists 14, 070 meanings. This is before it is interpreted through the filters on a personal level. Attempting to explain ourselves and what we mean by certain words allows us to mitigate the threat of most misunderstandings, but we cannot be utopian hopefuls thinking that we will ever eliminate all misunderstandings. What we can alter though is the way people view communication.
Speaker vs Listener
Today we see:
In other words, the listener hears the words, and he is interpreting them according to what he thinks they mean, as explained earlier with the Swede and Dubai local.
Ideally, we would like to see this:
In other words, it should not only be the speaker the one attempting to be understood, but the listener should seek to understand the speaker. Evidently, it takes effort from both sides for effective communication to occur. The speaker and listener must establish similar meaning or preferably have physical referents for the words. We are not taught this way in school; we are taught to debate.
Statement of Fact vs Inference
An inference is used much like the word guess or assumption. In other words, if I asked you Are there seeds in this apple? You may reply Yes! Without cutting it open and seeing if there are seeds in it. You could say I used my past experience to formulate my answer, but if I were to ask you to bet your life on it while holding a gun to your head, you might cut the apple open before you answer.
Statement of fact is cutting the apple open and looking to see if there are seeds and saying There are seeds in this apple. This is a statement made after having direct experience with the seeds. Again you might ask, why this is relevant to The Venus Project. Not understanding the difference between inference and a statement of fact tends to cause misunderstandings. A declarative statement such as The Venus Project is communism is an inference claiming to be a statement of fact, but that does not necessarily make it a fact. A father making a declarative statement such as All Turks are bad! may sound like a statement of fact that might stick depending on the amount of indoctrination exercised on his child.
“In the past, people used to say ‘You’d never be able to get to the Moon, not in a 1000 years!’; they’d look up the next day and we’re going to the Moon.” — Roxanne Meadows
How do we measure if a statement is one of fact or an inference?
Efficient Observer vs Inefficient Observer
Suppose I ask what are these things above? Normally we have four different answers:
- “They are designs or figures.“
- “Variety of shapes.”
- “Straight or regular figures.”
- Naming Individual items
The majority of people (80%) stick to numbers 1 and 2, some (15%) on 3 and least (5%) on 4. Keeping in mind that no two events are ever the same, by using the mechanism that produces items 1,2 and 3 (abstracting) we are generalizing or rather passing judgment. Through abstracting, we tend to place groups of people into one category without considering the individual. It is very hard to think about individual differences without considering what shapes those differences. Few examples of generalization are Those corrupt Africans!, Those lazy Greeks!, Those drunken Brits!
“There are no Negro problems, Polish problems, Jewish problems, Greek problems or women problems. There are human problems!” — Jacque Fresco, 1974
Similarities and Differences
If we were unable to see the similarities in events (associate), we would, indeed, have a tough time learning anything. Math or Chemistry would be almost impossible to learn. This is what makes us different from other primates — the fact that we can continuously learn and pass on that information to others. One can argue that sometimes things we learn and pass on are not often the most relevant information. This is also the case with values and language, meaning as you grow up you identify specific objects necessary for survival, e.g. food, water, and danger. As you grow older to a mature adult and have gone through different experiences, you can place different objects and living beings into different categories, which sometimes (in the case of race or gender) ends up causing social and personal problems. With relevant education, you will be less susceptible to most of these prejudices.
It is a sign of the trained mind when one speaks of differences. Language that identifies differences is a mark of the ability to extract relevance from a situation (intelligence). A pianist can hear a piano piece, and he can identify the left from the right hand, which part of the piano is making what sound, in which key his colleague is playing, and when he changes key. He can identify if too much paddle is being pressed, or if his colleague made a mistake. An untrained ear cannot identify this easily. I remember playing a piano piece in front of 500+ people, in which 95% of them were not trained, musicians. I skipped five pages of the song which otherwise was 13 pages long. Only the 5% noticed. The observation passed to me by the 95% was that, I am a brilliant piano player. Needless to say, the musicians didn’t feel the same.
Our language is filled with opinions by only noticing the similarities. While noticing the similarities is useful in everyday life, but it should be combined with the differences to result in a more relevant action pattern. It is easier to speak in general terms, neglecting the differences. This, unfortunately, results in impulsive or hasty behavior because it takes to much work to see the differences. Be aware of this the next time you use the verb ‘to be.’ Stop and Think!
“He/she is …”
You might want to ask yourself Am I about to show that I have only noticed the similarities?
Go to your kitchen and find an apple. Hold it in your hand and imagine I gave this to you. If I ask you What did I just give you? you might reply An apple to which I’ll say No, I didn’t give you the words ‘Apple,’ what I gave you was… I pause, and I point at the fruit we have come to call ‘apple’ which is in your hand. These words point to the apple, they are not the apple, much like I cannot drink the word ‘water’. In other words, there are two ways of answering a question: a verbal way and a nonverbal way. You can show me the apple in your hand as if to say This is what you gave me, or you can ‘give’ me a bunch of words.
A child growing up eventually discovers that things in existence have words pinned to them. We learn to place so much emphasis on the words that they can give us different emotional reactions. Holding a dinner for your friends and offering a tasty meal might get them to praise your cooking skills until you reveal to them that it was snake meat they ate. Some might even return an excess of the consumed amount. They were able to eat it, digest it and even enjoy it, and one might wonder Why the unpleasant reaction? The words that have negative associations in the brain may give you an unpleasant feeling. Values today partly seem to be formed around the verbal rather than the nonverbal.
“Love is a bullshit word!” — Jacque Fresco
The term ‘love’ means more to people than what the nonverbal could signify. That goes for words like ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’, ‘human nature’, and ‘free will’. Claiming that you ‘love’ The Venus Project means you are ready to learn and apply the teachings to yourself in order to achieve a different way of life — organizing the nonverbal as to extend as much ‘love’ (extensionality) to people and nature as possible.
To make an accurate map it takes a lot of hard work. In order to make the map reflect the territory, it takes analysis, observation under a certain amount of guidance and a lot of technical work to achieve this level of accuracy. If I had to ask you to describe the apple that I handed you, you might proceed to tell me the shape and the color, and maybe some may go as far as attempting to describe the taste. The thing to ask yourself is, Is this the Apple? It takes a lot of work to create an accurate ‘map’ of what ‘the’ apple is. When we are working in the realm of the verbal and nonverbal observations, exaggerations, misinformation, and misunderstandings are inevitable.
Saying I love The Venus Project is not going far enough. Guided education, as provided for now by the mentor program, is key for one to be able to describe what The Venus Project is. Some may say, I don’t have the time or it’s too much work or even that it’s unnecessary. As the map takes a lot of guided observations and a lot of technical work, the same stands for The Venus Project. If you feel ‘to be’ well informed on your own, remember what I said about the efficient observer vs inefficient observer.
In our everyday speech, it is very easy to distort or misrepresent something. Suppose I asked you What do you think about democracy? No matter what answer I get, It’s good! Or It’s bad!, I would have to ask you Is it bad now while you are reading this post? Is it good when the leader does something you don’t like, but you still could speak openly about it in your local coffee shop with your friends? Is it bad when you are walking your dog? When is it bad? And when is it good?
In certain absolute monarchies, I know that there is no tolerance to public display of affection. I know there is no tolerance to a woman having intercourse with a man before their marriage. These things are not things that threaten people in a ‘democratic’ country. There are atheists on television making very insulting statements to theists, and these happen in open forums without fear of apprehension. When you say, It’s bad! It implies ‘always.’ You have to adopt a language which points out the details, as far as you can see those differences. In order to make an accurate map you have to ask When is it bad? What do you mean by bad? We seem to be imprisoned in statements that might be said about The Venus Project and in general everyday conversation without attempting to learn the ‘when.’
So, if you say to yourself, or when you hear someone making a statement as if it was a statement of fact, ask When? I am a failure. Ask When were you a failure? Keep going along those lines and you might have an interesting conclusion. The one that General Semantics has arrived at is that people’s verbal picture of themselves does not reflect the nonverbal, and this might cause disappointment. Imprisoned in the phrase, I am a failure. But I might have been a failure only in certain aspects of my life between 2010 and 2012, and so much exaggeration was placed in that statement (failure) that it has caused me to generalize my whole life. The same can be said about people who might say they are ugly. Ugly to whom? What is ugly and who decides what is ugly and what is beautiful? These are nontechnical terms, and we have to bear in mind that:
“If everyone had a nose a foot long, you would have surgery done to fit in with your culture.” — Jacque Fresco