“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” William Shakespeare.
"What's in a name?" We'd joke at a previous job of mine.
"EVERYTHING" We'd answer in chorus.
Words carry a lot of weight. Definitions are relevant. Words set expectations and expectations dictate actions, and actions have consequences.
We like to re-define things based on social and political movements. The word gay in the past used to mean happy. It has since lost that meaning. Fine. Language is flexible. Poetry is language and poetry has no rules. Therefore, if poetry is language then language is poetry and therefore language itself should have no rules. A cute fallacy.
Poetry is part of language but it isn't language itself. It is precisely by means of the breach of the rules that we know when a text is a poem or just a technical explanation of the rotations per minute of a washing machine.
The rules are what exceptions are based upon.
Food for thought.
I have difficulty today with the misconception of my words when speaking to people. I am lost in the matrix of our ambiguity.
"I met with a friend last night." I pause to watch for the facial expression. I see the doubts manifesting as their lips purse slightly together and their eyebrows raise subtly. "Just a friend." I add carefully.
How did we get here? I wonder to myself.
Matt Walsh's (yes I quote him again!) What's a Woman tour is a great example of how ambiguity works on a subconscious level.
And? What is a woman? There was no clear answer. Not so long ago, it was pretty clear what defined a woman. In fact nobody sought to define it at all, outside of a strictly medical context: such as the surgery table for example.
And yet, here we are!
Recently, I scrutinized the words of an acquaintance regarding science.
"Science is what we know that we don't know." In a nutshell. His definition was a tad longer than that.
Indeed, gravity may change at some point in time and then Newton's laws will no longer apply.
The fallacy: Because facts may change at some point in time (since they cannot be proven absolutely, over an indefinite amount of time, and using other facts as absolute and defining measuring tools), it essentially makes those facts null and void. Everything can and does exist and NOT exist both at the same time. And we arrive at the point of: nothing really matters!
By his definition of science we may be rooted to the earth due to gravity and at the same time due to another force we as yet do not understand. And it all sounds perfectly logical.
In the not too distant future, robots could be human and humans could be robots, because we're all made of stardust anyway.
There is truth to fallacy.
I'm not going to deconstruct his argument. I shall rely on greater minds than my own for that. Any takers?
I'll go BASIC...and just say: "Here and now. What are we?"
"It seemed like she was happy to go alone!" Said my daughter angrily.
"Ok!" I replied impatiently. I was not in the mood for diffusing this argument between sisters.
"But did you ask her?" I pressed her.
"Ask her what?" She replied grumpily.
"Did you ask her if her reaction was happiness to go alone or just happiness to go?" I explained.
There was silence. I watched as the logic infiltrated her resentment. It wasn't a trick question but it was a test of non-ambiguous communication. I got no answer and I could see the point hadn't quite sunk in. I asked several direct questions to her sister and then turned back to her. "So?" I began. "Does it still seem that way?"
"No." She answered quietly. Nailed it! I thought.
How to avoid logical fallacies? I have no idea. Truth can be lies and lies can be the truth. A woman is also a man and also both as well as neither. A friend can be platonic, but also non-platonic. The list is non-exhaustive. Too late to turn back the clock to simpler, stricter times. Adapt or fall through the cracks...so to speak.
What to do?
"A Plague on both your houses!"
Nah! I'm kidding.
I think: JUST ASK!