Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What’s in a name?

A lot it turns out. We attach meaning (emotion, symbolism, fact…) to mere words and often assume everyone else hears /feels what we do.

That’s not a criticism; it’s simply human nature. Even a simple colour (think RED) can conjure a smell, an image, an item or a shade unique to you. Given all the meanings – real or assumed – that words can hold, it’s a wonder we can communicate effectively with each other at all.

There are usually two ways to deal with ambiguity:
·         Nail down each meaning and be as precise as you can… which often leads to more terms requiring more definitions
·         Allow for variation and hope the majority meet in the middle

There are a few other options but they require patience and a tolerance for potentially looking foolish, such as:
·         Assuming your definition is incorrect or unfinished and trying on /asking for others in order to generate a whole new perspective
·         Attempting to identify the emotions shading the conversation vs. the factual meanings

Or simply allowing the ambiguity to create its own experience.

I used the word “sponsorship” in a blog post and had over a 1000 hits from Russia. I doubt my post was what they were searching for…but maybe some had a discovery they weren’t expecting. It was a bit of a discovery and research process for me (fascinating reading about Russia and immigration issues).

So this is an ambiguous post for those of us who enjoy debating RED now and then.

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