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UNDERSTANDING ONE ANOTHER

Updated on May 14, 2010

I Want to Know What You Meant (excerpted from an exchange with a non-believer)

Man... I like you. I like the way you think. I like your systematic, analytical approach to an issue. I love your sense of fair play.

I do not agree with your (present - work in progress?) conclusions about the supernatural, but greatly appreciate how you arrived at your "axiom(s)" concerning them.

As mentioned, the word axiom, its use by you and its meaning in general, is relatively foreign to me and generates for me a learning curve that includes personal exploration.

Personal adventures along these lines are for me, always a welcome challenge and I proceed through these many semantic discoveries with two main notions to guide my understanding of the evidence I find.

First, there is a literal meaning for the word being discovered. And by literal, I am referring to literally defined... and that seems to me to vary slightly within context.

And second, there is the meaning that the person, who may or may not know the literal definition, is trying to convey.

Now the literal definition/meaning is easier than the personal understanding/usage/meaning, but not as much fun for me. After all, you go to the dictionary, you get your definition, end of adventure. Kind of like going to the TV Guide, getting the guide's take on a certain program listed and calling it entertainment.

At anytime, any-time... when I am engaged in dialogue with someone or even a group, and some one uses a particular word that I am either unfamiliar with, or the use does not fit with what I am accustomed to... I query the person for what they mean by the word.

Sometimes... my query needs clarification, especially if the person(s) are not familiar with me.

The most common reaction I have encountered with my requests for a better understanding of their meaning suggests that they are offended by my interrogations (for the lack of a better description), at least until they hear my explanation as to why I asked.

When it comes to people... individuals... I want to understand exactly, precisely what it is they wanted me to understand by what they said. Because, even - if - I have a literal meaning for a word tucked away in my brain bucket, my understanding of what is literal may not match with their understanding of it, and... AND, they may not have a literal definition or an understanding of its contextual use. And for that matter my understanding may need fine tuning, especially in reference to the idiosyncrasies of the person engaged.

As in the case with axiom.

I am relatively certain, from our many exchanges, that you, are quite probably using the literal use (or very close to it) of any word you selected. Now I must do three things in dialogue with you. One, verify my literal understanding of the word (look it up) and two, verify your understanding of the word, and three, familiarize myself with your contextual use of the word.

All of this, as mentioned is an adventurous exploration for me, people, individuals... you... for me, are much better than TV.

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