Author Topic: WORDS  (Read 441 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline junebug72

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4509
  • Darwins +310/-114
  • Gender: Female
  • MIGHT DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
WORDS
« on: August 09, 2017, 05:34:39 AM »
We've all heard that old saying about sticks and stones and how words can never hurt us.  Well, I disagree.  Words can hurt our brains.  Words can inspire us or bring us to tears. 

Here's a great article that supports my thesis.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/tech-support/201308/why-words-can-hurt-least-much-sticks-and-stones

I assume most theist will agree, yet they have no problem condemning gays and atheists to hell.

I don't assume anything when it comes to atheist responses to this thesis but I'm interested and I care.

I would appreciate people sharing some of the words that have had inspiring content that made you change in a positive way and words that hurt you and how you dealt with it.  Do they still bother you now?

My inspiring words words are: be the water.  Water shapes the planet, cuts through mountains and is the stuff of life.

My most hurtful words: after being raped by mom's boyfriend she called me a liar.  That has affected my life in so many ways I'm not going to attempt to list them all.  Mostly it caused me to despise my existence.
MY POSTS CAN TAKE DAYS FOR APPROVAL.....

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6732
  • Darwins +485/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: WORDS
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 06:08:20 AM »
Interesting article - I was struck especially by the assertion that when we believe pain was deliberately inflicted (whether it was or not), it is felt "harder" than if we believe it was NOT intended.  It tallies with my opinion about determinism: when I am actively aware that other's responses are not "chosen", it does make it much easier to "shrug off" their actions.

Couple that "expectation" of intended pain with the fact that those who experienced an insecure childhood are more likely to be "rejection sensitive", and I can see why people from some backgrounds are more likely to feel they are being rejected - and to have it hurt more - than others.  It certainly tallies with my experience as a Rep: those who have experienced worse external lives appear[1] to experience more issues at work.  I wonder if there is a wider application to this - that those who expect good things have a better/easier life than those who expect bad things?

All that said....I'm a little wary of the article.  The author's qualifications are in English rather than Psychology or Biology.  The article is 4 years old.  Most of the links are broken (perhaps implying that the research has since been found to be incorrect?)  I could only get one link to work, and that one causes me some concerns - though to be fair, the authors themselves admit it: (my bold)

"However, we must acknowledge that these studies are retrospective and correlative and, as such, are subject to problems associated with faulty recall and spurious association. It is possible that individuals who show a tendency toward psychopathology in childhood are targeted as “odd” by peers and subjected to VA (39). It is also conceivable that a preexisting abnormality in the CC enhanced risk for psychopathology and peer abuse. Path analysis delineates a mathematical solution to a series of equations not a causal pathway. Causality cannot be inferred from this retrospective experimental design. Prospective studies are needed to tease out these possibilities."
Another aspect they don't appear to consider is the "rejection sensitivity" factor.  Their tentative conclusions are that (based on significantly post-event questionnaires) that perceived verbal abuse leads to  later issues.  It could be the case that innate sensitivity to the same actual levels of verbal abuse might cause more of that abuse to be later remembered.

I don't disagree that words have power, and can change our feelings.  There have been enough books I've read that have made me cry, or made me feel great, to want to deny that (choosing to focus on books as there is no direct connection between author and reader, and no associated physical or verbal cues).  But that said, other people read the same books without those feelings, so I have to ask: is the reaction due to the words, or due to the individual's reaction to the words?

It does indeed seem that words can affect us - however it does equally appear (from the article, and from my experience) that individual reactions to the same words can and does vary according to the history of the person concerned.  Possibly that accounts for why some people are pulled into religion, while others are not?
 1. Just an impression - not something I've run any numbers on
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Online jaimehlers

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 8726
  • Darwins +1097/-26
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: WORDS
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 09:27:01 AM »
The old saying is not true; words can indeed hurt.  The most obvious example is screaming in someone's ear, which can cause actual physical pain and injury.

But the emotional pain that words can cause is not inherent to the words.  The same insult directed at two different people can cause completely different reactions.  This suggests, to me at least, that it's the way people react to words that makes the difference, rather than the words themselves.  And that suggests that one way to deal with this emotional pain is to work on our reactions to what others say, especially since we have no way to effectively control what they say.

Take the words, "be the water".  This has very practical applications in dealing with this very thing.  If you throw a stone into a river, the water is not hurt; it simply splashes out of the way of the stone, and then moves on.  The water doesn't react by barrelling out of the riverbed, intent on expressing its displeasure to the person who dared throw a stone at it.  So, if you want to be the water, you have to learn to deal with your reactions to things.  That especially includes words, because of how easy it is to let yourself be provoked by words you don't like.  The key is to remember that you're producing the reaction, not the words, and to learn to manage your reaction.

It's not easy, especially since this isn't really taught very well, or at all.  The most we have as a society is things like the aforementioned "words will never hurt me" saying.  There's not really any teaching that goes into helping people deal with their reactions to words before they become habits of thought, and the longer they remain habits, the harder it can feel like to change them.  But they can be changed, if you keep putting the effort in to change them.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline junebug72

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4509
  • Darwins +310/-114
  • Gender: Female
  • MIGHT DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: WORDS
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 04:57:21 AM »
If you throw enough stones in the water you can change the direction of its path.  It's not like water can't be manipulated.

I think it's not so much the words being spoken as it is the action of cruelty.  The words are indicative of an action, i.e. kindness, understanding, compassion, no compassion, cruelty.  Speaking is a verb. 

When somebody uses words to sooth you that is an act of kindness.  On the other hand, when they use words to hurt you that is an act of cruelty. 

I believe cruelty causes suffering.  The words in the bible describe a cruel emotionally unstable deity.  As Thomas Paine puts it, belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.  I don't know why an atheist would be cruel.  A couple of ideas would be greed or maybe jealousy. 

MY POSTS CAN TAKE DAYS FOR APPROVAL.....

Online jaimehlers

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 8726
  • Darwins +1097/-26
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: WORDS
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 08:42:54 AM »
There's a famous anecdote about how General Grant was trying to bypass Vicksburg on the Mississippi, and so attempted to dig a canal to bypass the city.  It didn't work.  That isn't to say that it cannot work, but it's much harder than most people realize to seriously affect the course of a river.

Anyway, it is certainly true that people can be hurt by cruelty or soothed by kindness.  But words don't have such inherent meanings.  For example, most of a person's meaning is contained in things like body language and tone of voice.  I'm not sure of the exact amounts, but I don't think much more than 10% of actual meaning is conveyed by words.

It's much easier to understand someone in a face to face conversation than in a text-only format like a letter.  In order to fill in the blanks of the latter, we tend to imagine what we think they mean and then react to that.  This doesn't always work, though, especially if we don't know much about a person or dislike what they're saying.  I mean, even with people you know well and are taking face to face with, it's still possible to badly misunderstand them, and that's with all that nonverbal and subverbal communication present and active.  How much easier is it to deal with people you can only communicate with in writing and have limited knowledge of?
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6732
  • Darwins +485/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: WORDS
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2017, 09:00:41 AM »
Indeed - it's even possible for the exact same word to be either a serious insult punishable under the law, or a term of affection or comradeship, depending on the speaker and the audience. 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Online Jag

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3517
  • Darwins +473/-9
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: WORDS
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 10:53:06 AM »
For example, most of a person's meaning is contained in things like body language and tone of voice.  I'm not sure of the exact amounts, but I don't think much more than 10% of actual meaning is conveyed by words.

Your point is accurate, but the statistic you're thinking of has a long history of being misapplied. No one has established a GENERAL percentage - there was a study/experiment done that identified some 10% as you describe, but the researcher was dismayed to find that stat taken out of context and thrown about haphazardly in regards to communication outside of the circumstances of his experiment. I can dig up support for this if you want me to.

/derail
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Online jaimehlers

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 8726
  • Darwins +1097/-26
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: WORDS
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2017, 03:33:54 PM »
Even considering that, I'd be really surprised if words were the source of even a significant minority of the meaning of things we say, Jag.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Online Jag

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3517
  • Darwins +473/-9
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: WORDS
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 05:25:20 PM »
Even considering that, I'd be really surprised if words were the source of even a significant minority of the meaning of things we say, Jag.

It depends on a number of different factors. But this is getting away from the topic.
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Offline junebug72

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4509
  • Darwins +310/-114
  • Gender: Female
  • MIGHT DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: WORDS
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2017, 04:10:43 AM »
I don't know ladies and gentleman, if we disregard words altogether, we can't hold Trump accountable for his lack of diplomacy, i.e  his words, "fire and fury, power like the world has never seen before" that seem to provoke Kim Jung instead of deescalate.  Those words sounded off an alarm in my brain, not his posture or body language, but his words. (As do many of his words)

Well we have seen Hiroshima or at least heard about it so I'm thinking he means worse than that. :o

History is kept by words.  The Bible is a composition of words as is most religious text.  Imagine if those words did not exist.  It's hard to do, I know.  I don't know too much about the Torah or Quran but I do know the words in the bible contradict themselves.   

Words seem to get into our brain and either go to short term memory or long term memory.  Math as a language fascinates me.  I don't understand trig or calculus but it doesn't seem to provoke emotional responses even though some people don't like or accept the answer. 

Let us also not forget the Panama Canal.  It hasn't always been there. ;)  New Islands are formed off the coasts but I wouldn't live on one. :laugh:  Not unlike those islands, words are accumulated and stored in the brain.  If you consider the wrong words to be knowledge then you are going to have some problems with your foundation but if those words produce real knowledge then your brain has a better opportunity to guide you through survival.  Ultimately that affects your offspring too. 

I'm quite sure my perspective on words come from the effect of theism on my brain.  Words are a double edge sword, still seems true to me.  I don't know who said it or even if it's an original idea but it makes sense to me.  I am also influenced by this song by one of my favorites, Madonna, Words:
Words, they cut like a knife
Cut into my life
I don't want to hear your words
They always attack
Please take them all back
If they're yours I don't want anymore

You think you're so smart
You try to manipulate me
You try to humiliate with your words
You think you're so sheik
You write me beautiful letters
You think you're so much better than me  Chorus, bridge

Too much blinding light
Your touch, I've grown tired of your words
Words, words
A linguistic form that can meaningfully be spoken in isolation
Conversation, expression, a promise, a sigh
In short, a lie
A message from heaven, a signal from hell
I give you my word I'll never tell
Language that is used in anger
Personal feelings signaling danger
A brief remark, an utterance, information
Don't mince words, don't be evasive
Speak your mind, be persuasive
A pledge, a commitment, communication, words



I know while I was bald from chemo and my body was weak, it hurt like hell when my partner said she did not love me anymore and she was not attracted to me anymore, it still does 3 years later.  I don't think any body language could have changed the impact on my psyche.

JAG, it doesn't seem off topic to me.    Please share more? 

One of the first steps of therapy was learning about good communication.  There's passive, passive-aggressive, aggressive and assertive.  I was definitely passive-aggressive at that time.  Now I'm trying to develop better communication skills.  Yes I am a work in progress.  I think we all agree here assertive is the best form of communication and you need words for that. 

I'm also kind of thinking w/o words my degree in Communication would be impossible.  I just think it's strange that you learn Communication at college and not K-12.   They do try and condition you with a punishment system but I think it should be part of the curriculum.  I was not introduced to the aforementioned terms until I found myself in a huge conflict with my teenage son!  We were sent to mediation where I learned about good communication skills for the first time. 
MY POSTS CAN TAKE DAYS FOR APPROVAL.....

Online jaimehlers

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 8726
  • Darwins +1097/-26
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: WORDS
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2017, 12:44:56 PM »
Nobody ever suggested words were useless, junebug.  But one of the primary ways we use to communicate meaning is through subverbal and nonverbal elements.

Tell me, junebug, when you're taking to someone, you generally pay attention to their facial expression, how they're standing, their tone of voice and other things, right?  You will take a different meaning away depending on if they're smiling or scowling, if they sound sad or sarcastic, or if they have their arms crossed as opposed to hanging loose at their sides.  Those are all subverbal or nonverbal in nature, and there's plenty more where those came from.

Also, even if words are a relatively small part of meaning...so what?  Salt makes up about 3.5% of seawater[1], but that 3.5% makes quite a huge difference in taste.  Similarly, the difference between iron and steel is just a little bit of carbon[2].  Cast iron starts at 2.1% carbon, steel has anywhere from less than .3% to 1.5%, and then we have pure iron with no carbon at all.

Just some food for thought.
 1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/seawater.htm
 2. http://www.thefabricator.com/article/metalsmaterials/carbon-content-steel-classifications-and-alloy-steels
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Online Jag

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3517
  • Darwins +473/-9
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: WORDS
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2017, 02:50:46 PM »
In conversation, all of the details jamiehlers identifies are part and parcel of the conversation, provided that conversation is taking place face to face. It doesn't even fully apply to conversational communication on the telephone, because you lose the opportunity to see their face.

In text, we have countless examples of those nonverbal nuances being invisible. Fiction and non-fiction literature, journalism, reading a speech, reading nearly anything online that is presented in text only, and so on. People had already started using various keyboard combinations to add clarity to their text, long before we had emojis. We do understand that some of what we say online needs a bit more than just words to make our intended meaning clear.

I can read a textbook without having to see the writer's body language and facial expressions, or hear their voice, to understand the intended meaning of the words on the page. We ALL can do that.

Part of why I'm pushing back about this is that getting too caught up in the nuances of nonverbal communication is nowhere near as helpful as it is being presented here. Body language cues are FAR more personal to an individual than it may seem on the surface. The open arms/closed arms "messages" are often just wrong, because people make assumptions about WHY the person's arms are folded. For many people, it's simple the most comfortable position to take when standing, and when sitting, sometimes it's a matter of the size of the person in the chair, or their proximity to another surface. I know of one person who nearly always kept his arms crossed because he had a back injury and crossing his arms felt more comfortable to him! Yet people often want to assume that crossed arms indicates a lack of receptiveness to the words of the other person. That's simply not the case. Reading too much into body language is just as bad as ignoring their words in favor of assuming you know how they FEEL.

Culturally, there are HUGE differences in how nonverbal communication is used and what it may or may not indicate. This isn't limited to people from another country, there are endless sub-cultures in any country. Even temperament is going to influence body language and tone of voice. Some people are naturally more reserved or more outgoing than others, and overlooking that little detail can send you a long way in the wrong direction. I really caution people to not get too invested in trying to interpret body language and nonverbal cues until they have some experience with the person.

There are all kinds of studies that show how certain expressions are universal - anger and disgust, for example - but you might be surprised by some that are NOT. We can all pick out the angry face or the angry body language, but what about trying to do so in a professional environment? How often do your colleagues really allow themselves to be that obvious with their strong negative reactions? People can learn to control their expressions of emotions to a degree, and there absolutely are people who can disguise their anger until they explode into a fury. You have to know them to be able to tell that it's coming - and I'm only talking about neuro-typical people!

People with even mild autism can have difficulty making eye contact. It doesn't mean that they are hiding something from you. People can be experiencing a great deal of pain, but able to hide it from most observers if they feel the need to do so. Some people cry when they get angry - it doesn't mean that they're necessarily sad.

Growing up, certain things were fine to express in our house, and a few things were not. We all learned young that indicating disapproval or disagreement of our father's behavior toward another of us was a BAD IDEA. It only made things worse for the first person and got you included in whatever you were so foolish as to show any opposition to. People' background has a big impact on how they express themselves both verbally and nonverbally.

The show "Lie to Me" was fascinating, but it was NOT a documentary.
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Online Jag

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3517
  • Darwins +473/-9
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: WORDS
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2017, 03:01:23 PM »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonverbal_communication

This could DEFINITELY benefit from citations in at least a few places, but overall, this is a decent overview of nonverbal communication.

Stop for a moment and consider any interactions you've had with a person who grew up in an Asian culture. The nonverbal cues are very different, and dissent is expressed very differently as well. Context is key - by and large, the communication styles of most Asian cultures are considered high context, and English (particularly American English) is considered low context, lower than any other culture in fact. It's been demonstrated repeatedly that someone culturally Asian (Gaawww, I feel like there should be a better way to say that) will look at the entirely of a photograph, and make note of items in the background, while American English speakers focus almost exclusively in the foreground. This leads to VERY different interpretations of the purpose of the photograph.
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Online jaimehlers

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 8726
  • Darwins +1097/-26
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: WORDS
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2017, 03:58:51 PM »
Jag, you should consider how long humans, homo sapiens, have been around to how long written language has been around.  Hundreds of thousands of years compared to thousands of years, no matter how you look at it.   That's important, especially when you consider the additional fact that until writing was invented, we had nothing except direct communication to work with.

I'm not denying the importance of words here.  But when you get right down to it, they're just sounds; they need a shared meaning before they can be used to communicate.  But humans can develop that shared meaning even with no words in common - this is how we end up with pidgin languages.  I'm sure you already know that so I won't lecture.

But here's the thing.  We have literally hundreds of thousands of years where the only way to communicate would have been to do it face to face, or at least close enough to see the other person.  Which means that words developed in tandem with nonverbal communication[1].  You said that body language requires cultural referents, and that's true.  But spoken words do too.  Yeah, you can learn a language without ever talking or listening to a native speaker, but it's rather tough to make yourself understood in that case; you're going to be missing both the way the words are pronounced and the referents that help glue the language together.

This is just a hypothetical on my part; I could easily be wrong.  But I think that we fill in the blanks in text-only conversation by imagining how the person we're conversing with would have looked and sounded when saying it, possibly by substituting in people we actually know who act similarly.  Again, I don't know if that's the case, but I think it's at least going to be in the ballpark.
 1. I don't know how they balance out, but I am pretty sure that nonverbal/subverbal is going to outweigh verbal, simply because of the fact that we start out with no language at all and have to pick it up from listening, and still manage to pick up enough to be able to talk within 2-3 years.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 04:48:27 PM by jaimehlers »
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline junebug72

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4509
  • Darwins +310/-114
  • Gender: Female
  • MIGHT DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: WORDS
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2017, 04:25:44 PM »
Nobody ever suggested words were useless, junebug.  But one of the primary ways we use to communicate meaning is through subverbal and nonverbal elements.

Tell me, junebug, when you're taking to someone, you generally pay attention to their facial expression, how they're standing, their tone of voice and other things, right?  You will take a different meaning away depending on if they're smiling or scowling, if they sound sad or sarcastic, or if they have their arms crossed as opposed to hanging loose at their sides.  Those are all subverbal or nonverbal in nature, and there's plenty more where those came from.

Also, even if words are a relatively small part of meaning...so what?  Salt makes up about 3.5% of seawater[1], but that 3.5% makes quite a huge difference in taste.  Similarly, the difference between iron and steel is just a little bit of carbon[2].  Cast iron starts at 2.1% carbon, steel has anywhere from less than .3% to 1.5%, and then we have pure iron with no carbon at all.

Just some food for thought.
 1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/seawater.htm
 2. http://www.thefabricator.com/article/metalsmaterials/carbon-content-steel-classifications-and-alloy-steels

Yes you are right I do pay attention to all those things.

Thanks for clearing that up.  I did not really take that away from what was being said.  I apologize for making it sound as though I did. I think what I was attempting to do was not let the importance of the words meaning lose their importance. 

I'm not saying you are saying they should either nor anyone else. 

I did not mean to understate the importance of body language by doing so.

Not trying to be difficult here, I don't really remember mom's body language.  I remember the words, I remember what I thought about her words.  I don't recall thinking anything about her body language.  Now that I'm trying to remember, I remember her being stone cold.  She did not cry, she did not yell, it was just kind of matter of fact, I don't believe you because you sat in his lap.  That's really all I remember.  I feel my bodies reaction to it still.  *Deep breath.  It feels like my brain is going to explode but not a headache more like tension or a cramp. 

To the opposite statement be the water,  the tension is going away and I feel peaceful.

I don't know what any of this implies.  I'm just telling ya how my body responds to the words.  There is no body language involved with my pick me up term.

You explained that very well.  So what, has become a favorite term. ;)
MY POSTS CAN TAKE DAYS FOR APPROVAL.....

Offline junebug72

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4509
  • Darwins +310/-114
  • Gender: Female
  • MIGHT DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: WORDS
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2017, 04:41:19 PM »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonverbal_communication

This could DEFINITELY benefit from citations in at least a few places, but overall, this is a decent overview of nonverbal communication.

Stop for a moment and consider any interactions you've had with a person who grew up in an Asian culture. The nonverbal cues are very different, and dissent is expressed very differently as well. Context is key - by and large, the communication styles of most Asian cultures are considered high context, and English (particularly American English) is considered low context, lower than any other culture in fact. It's been demonstrated repeatedly that someone culturally Asian (Gaawww, I feel like there should be a better way to say that) will look at the entirely of a photograph, and make note of items in the background, while American English speakers focus almost exclusively in the foreground. This leads to VERY different interpretations of the purpose of the photograph.

This was taught in my Public Speaking class and in ACA transfer class.  My instructor told a story about being married to an Egyptian and how she had to learn their culture.  The moral to the story is exactly what you're talking about here.
MY POSTS CAN TAKE DAYS FOR APPROVAL.....

Online Jag

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3517
  • Darwins +473/-9
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: WORDS
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2017, 05:08:42 PM »
Jag, you should consider how long humans, homo sapiens, have been around to how long written language has been around.  Hundreds of thousands of years compared to thousands of years, no matter how you look at it (which doesn't even count   That's important, especially when you consider the additional fact that until writing was invented, we had nothing except direct communication to work with.
I majored in Communication Studies, and I minored in Interpersonal Conflict Mediation. I've been trained and continue to practice the training of considering words, and their meanings, and the intent of the speaker, and the context of the words, the cultural aspects, the subtext, and the social climate of the words for a few years now. I get paid to do so in one of my jobs, I do it for my own pleasure in a blog, and I also volunteer as a mediator. You can rest assured that when I share an opinion on the subject of human communication, it is, in fact, a considered opinion, based on theories and principles of the discipline. I specialized in Rhetoric precisely because of politics and religion, in case you find that of interest.

Quote
I'm not denying the importance of words here.  But when you get right down to it, they're just sounds; they need a shared meaning before they can be used to communicate.  But humans can develop that shared meaning even with no words in common - this is how we end up with pidgin languages.  I'm sure you already know that so I won't lecture.

But here's the thing.  We have literally hundreds of thousands of years where the only way to communicate would have been to do it face to face, or at least close enough to see the other person.  Which means that words developed in tandem with nonverbal communication[1].  You said that body language requires cultural referents, and that's true.  But spoken words do too.  Yeah, you can learn a language without ever talking or listening to a native speaker, but it's rather tough to make yourself understood in that case; you're going to be missing both the way the words are pronounced and the referents that help glue the language together.
 1. I don't know how they balance out, but I am pretty sure that nonverbal/subverbal is going to outweigh verbal, simply because of the fact that we start out with no language at all and have to pick it up from listening, and still manage to pick up enough to be able to talk within 2-3 years.
I thought I was clear that I wasn't dismissing the importance of nonverbal communication altogether, only making the point that it is subjective in ways we probably don'tr often stop to consider. We've "all heard" that nonverbal communication is <some number between 70-93%>, and that particular statistic is misapplied, and misunderstood, and ultimately, functionally useless. That was the essence of my first post. My second one was mostly an elaboration, as requested by jnebug, building on the previous post.

Quote
This is just a hypothetical on my part; I could easily be wrong.  But I think that we fill in the blanks in text-only conversation by imagining how the person we're conversing with would have looked and sounded when saying it, possibly by substituting in people we actually know who act similarly.  Again, I don't know if that's the case, but I think it's at least going to be in the ballpark.
The main idea I wanted to convey is that nonverbal language is much more subjective than most people think it is. It's fine to note nonverbals, and to accept the obvious ones, but don't get carried away and decide that you KNOW things you don't actually know.

So, to the sense I'm getting in this post from you, I agree that nonverbal communication has evolutionary roots that pre-date spoken language. That development was a crucial survival skill. However, we've had verbal communication skills for a long time now, and adaptations have occurred as well. This discussion isn't about that[2] - it's about the power of words, and the ability to use words to hurt. I hope we can get far enough into this discussion to also consider the power of words to help, and to heal.

I honestly don't understand what point you're trying to get me to see. I noted that my first remark (intended to point out that the statistic is wrong) was a bit off topic by way of the "/derail" comment. junebug, the OP, said she didn't think it was off topic and asked me to say more, so I did. What else are you reading in my posts? You seem to have overlooked everything I said about text and the lack of those cues, and that we still understand what is written as it was intended, much more often than not.
 2. I do happen to know a young man  who got a degree in evolutionary psychology, i'd be happy to try and get him to come for a visit and have that conversation with him if you want? He's also an atheist, and you should be warned that eventually, most of the answers come down to "would it help them have sex or not?" He CAN make the argument to support that, it's up to you to accept or refute his position, lol
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Online jaimehlers

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 8726
  • Darwins +1097/-26
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: WORDS
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2017, 09:04:22 PM »
I'm going to blame bad timing on this, Jag.  You posted right after me, so it seemed to me as if you might be pushing back on what I had just written, rather than the earlier post I made.  And yes, I did look it up after you mentioned it, and those statistics aren't as reliable as I thought they were.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Online Jag

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3517
  • Darwins +473/-9
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: WORDS
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2017, 02:42:49 AM »
Ah, I get it. I overlooked a post of your as well. This makes more sense now.
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6732
  • Darwins +485/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: WORDS
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2017, 03:01:11 AM »
In text, we have countless examples of those nonverbal nuances being invisible. Fiction and non-fiction literature, journalism, reading a speech, reading nearly anything online that is presented in text only, and so on. People had already started using various keyboard combinations to add clarity to their text, long before we had emojis. We do understand that some of what we say online needs a bit more than just words to make our intended meaning clear.

I can read a textbook without having to see the writer's body language and facial expressions, or hear their voice, to understand the intended meaning of the words on the page. We ALL can do that.

I think that's the point - people recognised from the start that tone and expression don't convey in plain text, so there are two alternatives.  Either you write very, very carefully, to ensure that your intent is plain, or you can use some emojis to shortcut the meaning.

You noted "textbooks" particularly.....probably the written word that is most carefully scrutinised, edited, and reviewed before publication - and the least likely to be "allowed" to use emojis.  So I entirely agree it is relatively easy to understand the thrust of a textbook.

But forum posts?  I honestly don't believe they are always that obvious in determining whether a post means or intends one thing or another.  We can probably all tell the extreme ends, but as you approach the middle I don't believe bald text is as easy to understand emotionally.  We would all accept, I think, that our attitude to posts will vary depending on our state of mind and body at the time of reading - if a post falls in that grey middle ground, is it not quite conceivable that what was intended one way could be read in quite another?

Heck - if it were so obvious what each and every post MEANT to say, then the moderating job would be a lot easier!
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline junebug72

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4509
  • Darwins +310/-114
  • Gender: Female
  • MIGHT DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: WORDS
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2017, 04:27:30 AM »
Jag will you expand a little more on how words heal?  I've know how they hurt you through personal experience but not scientifically.  I think it would benefit everybody. ;)

BTW, I'm sorry about saying I did not believe you.  Any doubt I had is now gone.  Please forgive me?   :-[
MY POSTS CAN TAKE DAYS FOR APPROVAL.....

Online Jag

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3517
  • Darwins +473/-9
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: WORDS
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2017, 12:13:43 PM »
^^^No need for forgiveness, it's a non-issue for me. I knew you were angry and I suspected you didn't actually mean it anyway. It's all right. I've been trained to not take things personally, lol

I'll be happy to expand further, but I've got my hands rather full right now. I'm in Oregon for another week and a half or so, visiting newly discovered family, and trying to track down my biological father. It turns out that I might have at least two half-siblings, and if that's the case, I'd at least like to reach out to them. My biological mother died before we had the opportunity to meet, and I don't want that to happen again, so I'm scrambling to connect the dots. I'm headed into Portland to sign off on paperwork to get my adoption records fully opened. I'll be in and out as time allows.
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Offline junebug72

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4509
  • Darwins +310/-114
  • Gender: Female
  • MIGHT DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT
  • User posts join approval queueModerated
Re: WORDS
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2017, 04:20:28 AM »
^^^No need for forgiveness, it's a non-issue for me. I knew you were angry and I suspected you didn't actually mean it anyway. It's all right. I've been trained to not take things personally, lol

I'll be happy to expand further, but I've got my hands rather full right now. I'm in Oregon for another week and a half or so, visiting newly discovered family, and trying to track down my biological father. It turns out that I might have at least two half-siblings, and if that's the case, I'd at least like to reach out to them. My biological mother died before we had the opportunity to meet, and I don't want that to happen again, so I'm scrambling to connect the dots. I'm headed into Portland to sign off on paperwork to get my adoption records fully opened. I'll be in and out as time allows.4

Understood.  I'm fairly busy right now too starting Fall semester.  I'm hoping I might gain understanding in my PSY 150 class.  I have just a little understanding now.  I know what happens biologically as far as fight or flight or freeze is triggered in the brain. 

Thanks for understanding. 

MY POSTS CAN TAKE DAYS FOR APPROVAL.....