Etymology One Oh One: Humour

Posted in Uncategorized by Vikram on August 8, 2013

No one has ever formed a word out of a vacuum, even the first words were probably derivations of grunts and gestures.  That’s why the study of the etymology is pretty  fascinating: we can trace words’ lineage, mutations, interpretations, misinterpretations and most importantly, constant undercurrents of meaning continuing throughout bygone eras.  Consequently, I’d like to start a bit on my blog about etymology – nothing too studious or didactic -but more just an examination of the genesis of  particular words, and how that genesis is tied to their current meaning.

Today I’d like to discuss a word that embodies a love of my life other than communication: humour.

In Hellenic Europe, and later, Medieval Europe, humours were the four bodily fluids that had to exist within the body in equal balance in order to ensure good health, any disease was a result of an imbalance of these fluids.  They were known  as  blood, yellow bile, phlegm, and black bile.  Our ancestors pictured our innards beautifully, didn’t they?

In efforts to form all encompassing theories, as academics still do today, these 4 liquids were attached to other tetrads, such as the four seasons, the four elements, and even the four gospels.

However, through the famous Greek physician Hippocrates, humours were also used to describe  temperaments of individuals.  He, and other Greek academics, believed that an over or under abundance of these humours caused certain personalities: Melancholic, Choleric, Sanguine and Phlegmatic.  Too much blood and you were Sanguine:courageous and amorous, too much yellow bile and you were Choleric: bad tempered and angry, and so forth.  We still use choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine to describe personality traits, although not very much outside the more verbose texts.

This belief in humours extended through medieval Europe and medieval Islam, yet during the renaissance the word began to take on new meaning.  Humour began to be associated with whim and caprice, and from there, indulgence, and finally, funniness.

Of all the personality traits, one wonders how humour got attached to “finding something comical”.

I’d suggest that it was related to people who were considered insane, they were viewed as having a case of the “bad humours”.  These people may have understood, or been overwhelmed by, the absurdity, hypocrisy or simple meaninglessness in the world in which they lived.  In doing so, they were branded as creatures whose mental affliction (humour) found comedy in scenarios widely regarded as serious.  A penchant for understanding situations for their utter absurdity may have contributed to the current meaning of humour.

It is interesting to examine humour as a sort of meta-perspective, one that stands above all other perspectives and views the how each individual frames the world, because, in essence, this is what humor is.  It is the understanding of expectation and playing to, if not always the opposite, the unexpected, and to do this, an understanding of frames of reference is required.

As one of my favourite subjects, I’ll certainly tackle humour again, but I think the etymology of the word is an excellent place to start.


Nunchi – The Art of Analyzing and Responding in Social Situations

Posted in Uncategorized by aintnothingright on March 21, 2013

As interpersonal relationships are fundamental to our lives, we examine our relationship dynamics by the day, minute and second, each from our own very personal and thus very specific perspective.  It is because of this highly personal perspective that their lies little use – so it seems – in analyzing specific personal social dynamics from a more withdrawn perspective, or from a scientific view.  Any theory on specific interpersonal situations would largely only be relevant to the individual who created it due to the sheer number of variables involved: who is talking, who are you talking to, how you are feeling, how they are feeling, and innumerable other contextual characteristics of the situation.   Certainly, a trend involving “the art of picking up” literature has permeated into the social consciousness recently, but these books mainly rely on achieving singular goals in specific situations and doubtless simply view individuals as reactionary, instinctual animals.

A method more useful than applying theories on social dynamics to specific social situations is  to provide individuals with tools to carefully evaluate and understand the social situation and the person that you are talking to, and resulting from this understanding, respond, act or behave appropriately.  Although the Korean art of Nunchi doesn’t exactly fit this category – it involves the ability to tactfully express oneself on account of sensitive Korean high context culture (a very interesting topic, which I plan on addressing in another blog) – but it is a term that is fairly suitable to my prior definition as it embodies adjusting your communicative techniques based upon characteristics of the individual (or individuals) you are communicating with.

Now, Nunchi may seem like a basic technique that all mentally stable individuals are innately aware of; however, responding well and appropriately and more so, consistently well and appropriately to people you are communicating with are issues which few individuals concern themselves with, let alone recognize.  Think about people you know, and think about yourself.   Do you ever notice people getting bored or looking away when that one person you all know begins to talk because they consistently talk about inanities?  Do you ever notice how some individuals don’t realize that certain sensitive topics are uninteresting or even offensive to certain groups of people? Or perhaps you notice that often people never mean quite what they say, and then react poorly when you react to what they say, but not what they mean? We all come across this in one way or another.  In fact having a lack of Nunchi or an offbeat Nunchi can result in humour, see any version of the television show The Office, or any of a plethora of comedians whose off kilter responses run against the grain of social norms.

Pregnant pauses, trailing off, embarrassment, disappointment and general uncomfortable-ness; these are all symptomatic of a lack of Nunchi on one, both or several parties in a social situation.  Certainly this increases in relative to the degree of interpersonal distance one is from other parties, but those better trained in Nunchi can compensate for this.

You might say, “well, your version of Nunchi sounds like just empathy”.  Certainly, empathy is an important segment of Nunchi, or can be at least but it differs in several ways:

First, empathy is the understating and often, the desire, to help, whereas Nunchi  involves appropriately responding, which may or may not involve helping.

Secondly, and related to the first, Nunchi involves a response, whereas empathy is far more focused on sharing an emotional relationship than responding to an emotional state.

Thirdly, Nunchi involves much more than emotions, such as the status of the other person, their intellectual capability, or their interests.

The literal translation of Nunchi would be “eye-measure”.  It is interesting that it is named this, as something so subtle as the flicker of eyes or the direction one looks can reveal a plethora of information about an individuals mood, reactions and mental state.    These subtle indicators are usually seen but whether it is noticed, or further, cared about, is another matter entirely.

Nunchi, I strongly believe is certainly something society is lacking, so, I’d like to set you up with a task.  A simple one, and it will be kind of fun.  The next time you talk to someone you know quite well, say something you know that would make them uncomfortable, embarrassed or offended, or go on about nothing but inane tangents, but do not be outrageous about it.  If you are outrageous about it, they will feel you are joking or teasing them, so be very careful about it, and try to think of how to do it beforehand.  Since you know them well, you should know how to cross this line delicately.   Once you have gone about doing it, watch them, their hands, their eyes, the intonation and urgency in their voice, or in the tenseness in the air resulting from the lack of any response on their part.  Quite simply, observe their non-verbal communication – their “paralanguage”.  Directors and actors (good ones) are keen observers of paralanguage and employ it carefully and judicially.

Of course, this is only the first step.  The next step, just as fundamental as the previous one, involves responding based on your observations.  As stated,  how to do this is very difficult to explain to someone given the innumerable variables involved.  So, I won’t try, but hopefully I’ve provided you with a push to think about using techniques to analyze and respond appropriately to others.


Posted in Uncategorized by Vikram on September 28, 2012

It’s doubtful that anyone would postulate that a word could be more powerful than an image of similar connotation, at least emotionally.  Were I to show you a picture of a child dying, it would almost certainly provoke a stronger emotional reaction to you than if I handed you a piece of paper that said “200 children died of starvation in Eritrea today”.

This conception of human reactivity is the basis for the documentary genre of film.  In it, images are substituted for words, facts, and context.  Individual, “human interest” stories are positioned such that they are representative of a whole, whether this whole is an ethnic group, a illness, an idea, a type of person at a time and place, or almost anything else.  Images of majestic beauty or unparalleled destruction are paired with dramatic music to create an emotional context of the director’s choice.

In other words, a documentary adds nothing of substantive value to a discourse.  Certainly, they provoke the viewer by eliciting an emotional response to carefully constructed stimuli, but this elicitation cannot be considered a valued component of meaningful discourse.

For example, “Did you see those images of the destruction that that open pit mine caused?” is not an argument against said mine.  It is immaterial, as any image can be construed to create nearly any argument.  What would be material in an argument against the mine is “that mine caused the death of 500 coniferous trees leading to the reduction of animal habitat, greenspace and 3 different species of squirrel.”

“So?” you might say, “Get off your high horse! Documentaries aren’t about providing a categorical discourse on a subject, they exist to elucidate an issue, and make people think about it!”

And that’s great, but I would suggest that the problem isn’t with documentaries; it’s a problem with how we desire how we should learn.  That is to say, we learn for the wrong reasons.  We learn through documentaries as a byproduct of being entertained or being taken on an emotional roller coaster ride.  The problem with this is twofold.

Firstly, as stated, education can be heavily biased, and nearly always vastly incomplete if it is relying on a narrative that seeks to entertain, rather than provide a complete discourse on the subject at hand.  This is an improper basis from which to enter a discourse.  This is of course presuming that the viewer just acts on their initial reaction, and does not actually continue to learn about the subject at hand from unbiased sources.  Still, the viewer would begin this search with a initially biased viewpoint, and be predisposed to judge factual information selectively.

Secondly, having invested emotionally heavily within a documentary, the viewer is not of sound mind to carefully examine the truthfulness or accuracy of statements and points of view.  Instead, the viewer merely reacts, their rationale clouded with emotion.

Perhaps I am generalizing here.  Some documentaries are much more sensational than others.  Others provide little in the way of overt agendas, and merely provide footage and information from subjects presented in an objective manner (though some would argue that this “no-agenda” format is impossible as all documentaries have agendas, whether directors are aware of them or not, and in fact, that the more subtle agendas are the more dangerous).  Whatever the case, the problems I highlighted above are obviously more egregious in some documentaries than others.  And indeed, there are times when documentaries can be useful, such as for the following reasons:

  • Difficult to grasp events or distinctions.  For example, how does a mudslide move differently that an avalanche?
  • Complex relationships requiring graphs, charts or diagrams.
  • Light, informative documents that do not revolve around an issue in the public discourse (e.g. a documentary about life in Thailand)

So, my thesis here is not so much that documentaries are harmful as it is that we have to re-establish how discourse and education are sought by individuals.  If we seek to be entertained, then we should be entertained.  If we seek to educated, then we should be educated.  Ideally, the two should not mix, especially when entering substantive, informed debates.  Entertainment and emotion are reaction, not a byproduct of considered, rational thought.  Indeed, the worst in humankind is evident in the rhetoric of zealots worldwide who base their fundamental beliefs on reaction stemming from an assortment of emotions or narratives constructed by the media or innumerable sectarian organizations.

Zen for all you Cynics

Posted in Uncategorized by Vikram on March 13, 2012

In Zen Buddhism there exists a construct called the Koan, which, to non-Buddhists, appear as beguiling paradoxes, but it is evident that Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike share a connection to the Koan through a common concept: humour.

A Koan is, in essence, a tool.   It can be a phrase, story, or question used to open a Zen Buddhist’s mind to the meaning of perception and the nature of the mind.  Zen masters provide students with these Koans, such as the well-known “what is the sound of one hand clapping?”

Many Zen Buddhist students will attempt to use their rational mind to provide an answer or seek meaning in understanding the Koan, but the purpose of the Koan is not to discover an answer, or even think about the nature of the question itself; rather, the intent lies in removing oneself from one’s ego, and the habitual responses that are formed through simply living one’s life.  Once a student begins to discover their true nature, they begin to understand the intent of the Koan.

So how does this all relate to humour?

Inasmuch as we form habits and thought patterns, we are surprised when habits and patterns don’t pan out according to their predicted intent.  This is, in essence, the basis of humour.  Humour looks to defy expectations, and through this incongruity between expectation and reality, we are surprised, and we laugh.  Consequently, in order to understand humourous phenomena, we must remove ourselves from our common frame of reference.   Once we look at life as a pattern by understanding our collective thought patterns and reactions to certain stimuli, we can create reactions that don’t match what these stimuli “should” evoke, and we have comedy.

In other words, in order to be humourous we need to understand ourselves.

So, “being Zen” isn’t as far away from everyday life as you might think it is.  Detaching ourselves from our rational mind by cracking a joke is something we all do, day-in, day-out, to varying degrees.  Of course, the idea of a Koan is to reach the state of Satori, in which the true nature of reality is glimpsed, unencumbered by logic or personhood.  While humour does not go that far, certainly the concept is similar.

Indeed, jokes and humour can be Koans.  The simple and non-topical “Why did the chicken cross the road” can easily be compared to a Koan since it requires an understanding of expectation, and what in our nature evokes that expectation.   And if it were a Koan, I’d have to say there was a pretty good reason the chicken crossed that road: to force us to understand ourselves.

The Digital Gypsy

Posted in Uncategorized by aintnothingright on May 10, 2011

Those who decide they don’t want to be surrounded or defined by personal possessions must go through an interesting thought process.  I’d suggest it would be catalyzed by some sort of existential crisis, followed by doubt, exploration, and finally acceptance, resolved with some unnatural sort of conviction.  Such behaviour is unnatural in that it is iconoclastic.  However, we now live in a time where this new sort of minimilast, iconoclastic lifestyle is not only perfectly achievable, but also made simpler by the internet, of all things.

I’ve been browsing Everett Bogue, Colin Wright, and Tammy Strobel’s blogs.  All of these individuals make their living through various services marketed and provided through the internet.  All of these individuals also espouse a minimalist, travel-oriented lifestyle.  They have few possessions, no cars, and promote sustainable, minimal living.  Flying in the face of conventional understandings, these individuals have more stable, conventional presences online than they do in the real world.  Indeed, they even have their careers online.  Offline, their careers are no doubt much less salient to the world.

An interesting reversal of the roles of reality and the e-world is occurring here.  The internet used to be about vicarious experience.  Now, for these offline bohemians, reality is experience –  they float through the world with little in the way of tangible impact; they instead accrue real-life experience which forms their real-life identity and perhaps their online identity.    Real life used to be a 9 to 5, a grind that you relax by visiting media of various sorts; now, the internet has become the office, the place we advertise, work, and network.

It’s as though nomadic lifestyles of bygone eras have become viable once again.  More than that, this way of living is becoming more apparent to more and more people each day.  I’m mildly jealous of these people, but perhaps I’m more jealous of the strength of their convictions.  I couldn’t abandon my job and possessions –hell,  few people I know could.

Of course, this all may be the veneer of a lifestyle choice that is currently in vogue, but more possibly, this is the beginning of a new interplay between life and work.

To make common, to share to a common whole

Posted in Uncategorized by Vikram on April 1, 2011

Communication, from the latin communicare, meaning to share, divide out, or impart, and further from the Latin communis, meaning in common, not pretentious, shared by all or many.  So, does the “sharing” in this definition refer to information we impart and share with others, or does it refer to a shared understand of language, of denotation?  Well, in order to do the former, the latter is required.   Incidentally, and quite apparently, “communication” shares a root with many other words, such as common, community and commodity.

Regardless, we can trace communication even further back – to ko-moin-i which is a Proto-Indo-European word meaning “held in common, shared by all”, which I think is a wonderful definition, and concept.

In a way, we’ve already communicated with each other without saying a word.  We’re drawing from a pool that we all have in common to impart information to each other.  That is to say, we have a shared understanding of the language we use, and at any given moment we can utilize this shared understanding to impart information.

However, each person is looking at this pool from a different angle; therefore each word represents something slightly different to each person.  We each take our own meaning because we are own people, by virtue of both our physiological and psychological makeup.

Each of us claim that we see the pool of common understanding in the correct way – often, the only correct way.  “I understand our understanding more correctly” is the twisted logic that fills the sails of this belief.

The panacea to this quagmire is neither acquiescence nor obstinacy (yeah allow me to be self-indulgent occasionally, I love words so very much).  It is something far more challenging.  It is the endeavour in deducing meaning from what is, in many ways, another language: the way another understands words.

I’ve touched on this point many times before, but over and over again it reveals itself as the prime motivator behind disagreement and misunderstanding.  Understand what another person understands before defending what you believe.

Language is a common good.  It is a part of all of us, yet it is also incredibly individual.  This paradoxical dynamic is a beautiful concept, one that transcends what we know and believe of language.  Honestly, language is a magical creation that truly does not receive its just deserves.

Maybe that’s why I made this blog.  Maybe I just like communicating.

Watching Ourselves Watch Ourselves

Posted in Uncategorized by Vikram on July 5, 2010

Examining the footage of protests at the G20 conference in Toronto, it is both unnerving and heartening to see how many people have their cell phones and cameras brandished in front of them, recording all the action.  Cell phones, video cameras, and regular cameras snap and record, ensuring that all the carnage and animosity is recorded from all angles and perspectives.  Even the police had multiple officers recording the action.  Tens of thousands or even millions of pictures and videos recorded this event.

It seems that we’ve reached a point from which there will be no return; all noteworthy events can and will be recorded by anyone with a small, cheap piece of technology.  Our smart phones – and whatever personal electronic device we may have in the future – won’t diverge from utilizing video and image recording capabilities, if anything, recording technology will become more integrated and more powerful.

If this course holds true, events of continually lesser importance will be recorded, until databases replete with geographically or chronologically assigned video will be available for perusal (the newest iPhone update already allows automatic tagging of videos by geographic location).  Want to see what rock shows you missed at a nearby venue? Instantly, you’ll be able to search all the shows at that venue and discover hundreds of recordings of each one.

The act of recording an event will become less and less deliberate, and more a normal course of action.  If the possibility existed (it does) for a small device on your ear or brow to record everything in front of you, would you do it? Maybe not, but if it were to become a normal course of action, it would begin to abnormal not to do it.  We’ve all had that one friend who held out and refused to get a cell phone, but under pressure from friends and societal norms, this hold-out almost inexorably caved and picked up a dirt-cheap cell phone.

Indeed, people are already recording everything they see – Justin Kan broadcasted every moment of his life for months in 2007 on  Since then, several other people have followed suit.

Of course, this omnipresent video transcription of society conjures up big-brother-esque dystopias, with behaviour monitoring connotations.  This, however, is a fairly extreme view of our future, and other futures are far more likely to occur. What’s often forgotten is that technology is malleable, changing and twisting with shifts in society and culture.  We aren’t at technology’s whim; this is an oft-repeated tenant of communications theory, despite society’s predilection to believe otherwise.

There are positive consequences of ubiquitous surveillance, too; unruly or totalitarian acts by people or governments cannot be defended with denial — the G20 riots are a testament to that.  Even celebrities, such as Michael Richards, cannot hide their bigotry behind closed doors – if you are famous or otherwise important and you conduct yourself in an “unsavoury” manner, you’d better believe you’ll be all over Youtube within a few hours.

Whatever your perspectives on a filmed society are, it’s important that we move forward eyes open, knowing we are all little videographers, iPhone’s at the ready, Blackberry’s in hand, waiting for something interesting, or not so interesting, to happen.  Disquieting as it may be, we are in control, and if we’re in control, we had better be prepared to face the consequences of watching ourselves watch ourselves.

Wherein You are Re-directed

Posted in Uncategorized by aintnothingright on May 18, 2010

to the wonderful alternative news portal site The Scavenger to read my new article discussing a dire future for social media.  Enjoy.

Public Relations and Extra-Marital Relations

Posted in Uncategorized by aintnothingright on April 27, 2010

At the risk of being presumptuous, I’m going to state that you have no doubt seen the above video and have probably read or watched commentary on its connotations for Nike and/or Tiger.  I’ve attempted to avoid any and all discussion regarding this video in order to keep from plagiarizing, or at the very least, tinting, the views I have formed on the subject.  In any case, I’ve thought about the commercial a short while and have come to a few conclusions.

Whatever you may think of the commercial, you have to acknowledge that it is interesting.   The marketing world has never shied from using emotion in its devices, but embodying the very personal and controversial actions of a celebrity as a vessel for brand promotion is unheard of, at least to my knowledge.  Imagine Wilferd Brimley apologizing on a Liberty Medical commercial or Bill Cosby apologizing on a Jell-o commercial.  I don’t predict to be able to forecast responses to advertising campaigns, but I have an inkling responses to these expressions of mea culpa would be cold, to put it mildly.

So why the change?  Why should this be acceptable now?

Certainly, we can suggest that, as the complexity of  of human behaviour increases (due to a plethora of factors), we have become increasingly responsive to newer and more complex forms of media, as has been the case throughout antiquity.  Greater, more diffused forms of mass communication result in cynicism and resistance to old techniques of marketing, thus increasing the opportunities for newer types of marketing.  Note that when I say “new types of marketing” I do not mean to indicate that  the level of information presented has necessarily increased; I mean new avenues, techniques and mechanisms for eliciting response are devised, whether they be complex or simple.

As to how Nike can implicitly refer to a genuine case of infidelity undertaken by the company’s spokesperson, we can presume that civilization becomes increasingly less restrictive over time with regards to social norms and the taboo, with few exceptions.  Certainly changes in government, or increases in evangelical movements may temporarily and locally change attitudes, but as a whole western society moves away from dictating moral behaviour.  We no longer concern ourselves with our date having a chaperon.

Yet looking at recent celebrity gossip, some might be considering re-introducing chaperons.

Infidelity has been notable among many (male) celebrities recently, with their inevitable attempts to find forgiveness plagued by snowballing gossip and sensationalism.  Yet, here in Tiger and Nike’s commercial we see a unique, powerful and thoughtful take on the situation, one which seems to work.  Why?

Firstly, one can examine the role of Nike in the commercial.  As marketing has become increasingly abstract in order to avoid the “you’re being sold to” visibility, the goal of humanizing corporations has subsequently become a marketing technique.  Here, we have a prime example of this.  Nike is a facilitator in a human message, and therefore takes on human qualities, especially given that their promotional activities seemed to be halted, and in fact, almost opposite of normal promotional activities.  Tackling a negative, controversial topic with little to no direct marketing?  The company feels human, as if profit is not of paramount importance on their agenda – something we are not use to observing the corporate world doing.

Secondly, we can observe how the role benefits Tiger.   We see a large multinational corporation taking his side, an instance that seems to be the exception in this case, as most of Tiger’s other sponsors dropped him after the scandal.   Yet neither Tiger nor Nike attempts a corporate whitewash of the situation, thus treating the viewer with intelligence, and appearing to approach the situation with conviction and humanity.  Tiger did something wrong and faces the consequences from a judge (ostensibly) harsher than you – his father , while the viewer is made a spectator in the harrowing admonishment that is Tiger’s conscience.  Further, Tiger is carefully constructed to not be a victim, yet not a heartless scoundrel; we see him as a man who made a mistake, a man hiding nothing as he stares in to the camera, facing his innumerable judges, yet hearing the most rightfully concerned one of all.

It’s an interesting take on an interesting situation,  yet whether this bodes prophetic of future advertising, it’s difficult to say.  I do, however, have a belief that  the advertising world is a beast whose tentacles will leave no stone unturned if there’s a profit to be had.

Barking through a Fence

Posted in Uncategorized by aintnothingright on March 28, 2010

“How did he get through the fence?”

“Huh? Oh, he barked through it.”

Not what you thought, of course.  It’s quite obvious what you think when you hear the titular sentence: a dog, barking, probably vociferously, on the other side of a picket fence.  You can see him, and hear his barks, but he can’t get to you.

Quite a bit of meaning from such a mundane sentence, no?  You pictured and conjoined a number of concepts and images in with that sentence.  You assumed, foremost – a dog.  No dog is in that sentence.  You include a “bark”, the type of fence, and also importantly, the action the dog was taking.  Was he sticking his head through the fence to bark?  Was he barking as he went “through” the fence?  Most likely, no.  We’ve added connotations, completely subconsciously, to this simple, out of context sentence.

Words are tied to innumerable concepts within a frame of reference that has been constructed for us since the day we were born.  More than images, we also tie feeling, context and belief to words and phrases.

Certainly these cognitive chain reactions help to create an increasingly specified meaning from meagre sentences.  We can afford to speak with brevity with this ability.  Additionally, this allows us to form a blend of image and feeling in our minds, evoked through art of many types: poem, song and narrative.

Yet the negative effects of immediate and subconscious reaction to particular phraseology is the predicate of many problems that plague society, and can cause confusion on a personal level during normal conversation.  “Hot” words such as abortion, insurgent and cyber permeate in the public consciousness and become loaded with connotation.  Yet more mundane, or at least personalized, examples exist.

We are buying a watch for your brother.  You think he should have an elegant watch, but I think it should be manly.  We argue for a bit, until we realize we are arguing for the same thing.  In your mind, you pictured a “manly” watch as a rough-and-tumble heavy watch, yet I pictured it as sophisticated and mature.  I pictured elegant as dainty and feminine, yet you pictured it as sleek and urbane.  Now, I doubt many would consider sophisticated and mature, and sleek and urbane as very different, let alone mutually exclusive.

My point here is we must understand when to remove ourselves from our preconceived attachments to words and phraseology.  I say “remove ourselves” rather than “let go of” because it is a highly active process one must undertaken to overcome these automatic reactions.

When do we “remove ourselves”? During heated debate, when we meet new people, when listening to controversial topics, or several other types of other scenarios where our preconceived connotations are a burden rather than a boon.  Think about what you think about when words are said.  Again, this is a very active process that requires self-awareness. However, in doing so we are better able to construct other’s meaning in our mind (and attack it if we are in debate or argument).  We may also reach agreement and understanding less combatively and onerously.

I’ll leave this topic for now, but be sure I will tackle ambiguity much more in this blog.