Monday, August 20, 2007

What's in a meaning?

Have you noticed how we have assigned negative meanings to some words which by their definition are not but the connotation we give them seem to make them 'not right'. I was having a conversation with one of my best friends and we were talking about God and one of my favorite books, 'Mister God this is Anna', and I was explaining her how it said that God had to be empty.

'Mister god was a bit different from a flower. A yellow flower that didn’t want yellow light was called yellow by us because that is what we saw. You couldn’t say that about Mister god. He wanted everything so he did not reflect anything back; we couldn’t possibly see him could we. So as far as we are concerned Mister God is empty. Not empty because there was truly nothing there but because he accepted everything. Of course you could cheat if you wanted to; you could wear a colored glass marked “MISTER GOD IS LOVING” or bit marked “MISTER GOD IS KIND”, but then of course you would miss the whole nature of Mister God”

While I was explaining this to her I didn't have the benefit of reproducing it like I have here, but in the span of my explaining there was a pause in which the word 'empty' seemed almost sacrilegious.

And then we went on to define 'empty' and we realized that somehow the word 'empty' connotes something else. It's meaning is is nothing bad but when we hear 'empty' we immediately envision things like 'sadness', 'barren' etc etc.

28 comments:

Greg said...

The words are only a conveyance to meaning. We often read and listen only to the meaning we insert rather than take the time to understand what the writer or speaker means. What we make of the words says more of us than what is meant by them. Taking a word out of context removes meaning. You have to consider the word as it is used and not by itself. (Hi.)

Random Magus said...

I know and realizing it more and more now. I guess this is why all misunderstandings start. What we are saying and what others understand are two different things
(Hi back)

Looney Mom said...

Yah... what Greg said. LOL!

Hey, 'member me? I'm buckwheat. Ha ha. No, but really.

I FINALLY got around to my random things meme. It was hard to come up with other things I haven't already posted elsewhere. I realized that maybe I should have titled it, "8 embarrassing things about me" instead. Oh well.

Random Magus said...

Yes I do...will check it out.

Amel's Realm said...

WOW, Greg, your words are DEEP and TRUE!!! :-D

The Real Mother Hen said...

Oh I'm going to check out this book!
PS: The word "empty" in Buddism has a meaning which is too profound and no where nears "empty" too.

The Real Mother Hen said...

How was your trip btw? :)

meleah rebeccah said...

WELCOME HOME. I missed you. A LOT!

Empty (to me) always infers something negative too.

Random Magus said...

Amel's Realm:
Indeed!

The Real Mother Hen:
It's a great book you'll love it. The trip was tiring hot as hell...

meleah rebeccah:
Hey...thank you. I also realized as I was talking to my friend that 'empty' held that connotations for most of us.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A good interpretation in explaining meaning.

Good to have you back!

Random Magus said...

Thanks

kellypea said...

Empty makes me remember what my boys would say after they'd finished their milk...with big smiles on their faces, of course, because then they'd get to leave the table. A very warm memory...

Epimenides said...

Sounds like a great book! Good to have you back!!! :)

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Random, you back
Was it good, did you have fun

QUASAR9 said...

lol Random,
nothing is altogether empty
not even a vacuum or 'empty' space
Even the word empty has meaning.

Alexys Fairfield said...

Hi RM,
That's so true. Misinterpreted words have resulted in many a war. Emptiness is the removal of something, but that could mean the removal of something we no longer want in out lives, i.e. emptying out the closet, a house, etc. Alas, to feel empty inside is to be devoid of anything that is life; hollow; meaningless.

Micki said...

I'm thinking of how people use words to hurt, also, how the meaning of them changes as I get older. A child calling me a "doo-doo head" when I was a child may have hurt me deeply. The words had to be much more harsh to have any effect on me as an adult. Words have the beauty, meaning and insult that we assign to them. That can change with any current perspective or situation.

the domestic minx said...

Connotations change with each person.
It's how we view the concept of "empty", of course...
Is it devoid of something or a space prepared to be filled?
The connotation of empty continues with the saying "Is the glass half full or half empty?"
Here it defines the difference between positive and negative...which says a lot about how we generally view this word.
A lot is contained in the subtlety of meaning...

Phil said...

It strikes a similar experience recently when my daughter explained to me how the sky was not blue but that was the color reflected back in our eyes. Perhaps the very essence of love is emptying oneself for another, a transfer of some undefinable quantity that results in filling or giving to another. Does love exist if not given? And if we empty ourselves for another are we not more greatly filled with love.

Random Magus said...

kellypea:
Wow! I don't think I thought of it in that connotation. This is really fascinating me more and more as I read everyone's comments. Thanks for sharing

Epimenides:
I used to have two copies. One I gave to this very close friend because I wanted him to have it and I thought it'd make a difference. The second copy I asked my cousin to get for me, unfortunately it's not here with me. So am looking for a third copy. You must read it. The author's name is FYNN this is the introduction by Vernon Sproxton and its 100% accurate
There are good books, indifferent books, and bad books. Amongst the good books some are honest, inspiring, moving, prophetic and improving. But in my language there is another category: there are Ah! Books. This is one of them. Ah! Books are those which induce a fundamental change in the reader's consciousness. They widen his sensibility in such a way that he is able to look upon familiar things as though he is seeing and understanding them for the first time. Ah! Books are galvanic. They touch the nerve centre of the whole being so that the reader receives an almost palpable physical shock. A tremor of excited perception ripples through the person.

QUASAR9:
It was fun but very tiring and hot.

Clezevra said...

agree completely about words and meanings assigned to them, but am not convinced about god...

Random Magus said...

QUASAR9:
I know, but somehow the very first thought that attaches itself is of desolation and I was just wondering why that was the case

Alexys Fairfield:
That's what I used to think of the word but for me now it's having a renaissance. I actually want to throw out all the clothes from my closet... empty out the excess. Make things lean

Micki:
I know and as we grow older we learn how to give inflections to words and assign them burdens they were never meant to carry in the first place. Evolution of words...wonder where that's ultimately leading to?

the domestic minx:
You're totally right,. I think it's in most cultures to want to be full or over full all the time and so the word 'empty' become horrifying to us. Whereas in others to be empty is a secret to achieving the ultimate growth

Phil:
Perhaps the very essence of love is emptying oneself for another, a transfer of some undefinable quantity that results in filling or giving to another.
Perhaps that's why it's called selfless? I don't know love is a bit puzzling to me. Because it makes you do pretty strange things which you can't explain rationally.
I read somewhere once that love was a reservoir and you had to give but in turn receive so as to be able to keep giving.

Random Magus said...

clezvra: Which is also a word and we assign different meanings to it. For me believing in God is something that has never been a problem. God's one thing that I just believe in blindly and do not want to question or rationalize. It's just taken on faith.
Thank for stopping and sharing

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Random, because usually
we want our life filled with love - a life withot love feels empty
we want our life filled with joy - a life without joy feels empty
we want our life filled with beauty (not just skin deep beauty) - a life without 'beauty' feels empty

we want a life filled with thrills - a life without spill and cheap thrills can feel empty ...

QUASAR9 said...

... but then again
sometimes the glass is half full,
and sometimes it's half empty

Random Magus said...

And somehow it's in our nature to always look for the hidden 'bad' thing isn't it? Maybe we should see it as our life empty of sadness and empty of misfortunes.
But then we'd get bored and look for them....

Josie Two Shoes said...

I read that book many years ago and loved it, Amber. I think you did a marvelous job of explaining the "empty" concept here! Empty is not always a negative, it can me open and receptive!

RubyShooZ said...

So much good stuff to comment on here and me with little time to respond. I don't mean to hit and run but there's corn to shuck!

One thought and I know it to be true is that we must first empty out the "stuff" inside us so that we have room for the really good "stuff" that can and does come our way if we make room for it.

I wanna read that book now - going to put it on my list of things to read!

Peace, love and happiness.