Semantics, Silence, & Words
- We’re All Insane! Second Edition explores, explains, and encourages the right use of thinking. It will also help those who seek to understand General Semantics.
“What we cannot speak of, we must pass over in silence.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein
“Dwell always at the silent level.” —Alfred Korzybski
More on Semantics
Quotations Various Sources
“A finger points at the moon, but the moon is not at the tip of the finger. Words point at the truth, but the truth is not in words.” —Huineng
“A frog in a well cannot conceive of the ocean.” —Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu)
“A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” —Alfred Korzybski, Science and Sanity, p. 58
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” —William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
“A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.” —Henrik Ibsen
“Action expresses priorities.” —Mahatma Gandhi
“All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.” —Walter Benjamin
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” —Edgar Allan Poe
“All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” —Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
“Almost all the questions of interest to speculative minds are such as science cannot answer.” —Bertrand Russell
“Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken.” —Orson Card
“And thus among distinctions made, there are distinctions that cannot be made; among things expounded, there are things that cannot be expounded.” —Chung Tzu
“As was his language so was his life.” —Seneca
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” —John F. Kennedy
“Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that.” —Erich Heller, 1911-1990
“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” —Buddha
“Better to see the face than to hear the name.” —Zen saying
“Bliss lies in our taste, not in the things themselves; we are happy when we have what we like, not what other people find attractive.” —Francois de La Rochefoucauld
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” —I Peter 1:15
“By far the best proof is experience.” —Bacon
“Cheesecake is not cake but pie. Pie has a crust and cake does not, and cheesecake has a crust. Pie is all about the filling and cake is not, and cheesecake is all about the filling. Pie does not focus on flour but cake focuses on flour, and the crust and filling in good cheesecake contains no flour. Still, since we call cheese-egg pie ‘cheesecake’ then that is its name despite it being a misnomer.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Common sense is not so common.” —Voltaire
“Do not say, ‘It is morning,’ and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.” —Rabindranath Tagore
“Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence.” —Spanish proverb
“Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.” —Psalms 28:3
“Dwell always at the silent level.” —Alfred Korzybski
“Even a computer must rely on energy or power (electricity) to complete tasks because directions are insufficient.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” —Arthur Schopenhauer
“Every way of classifying a thing is but a way of handling it for some particular purpose.” —William James
“Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.” —Samuel Beckett
“‘Everything is relative’ is relative.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Everything that can be said can be said clearly.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein
“Experience is not what happens to you, it’s how you interpret what happens to you.” —Aldous Huxley
“Facts can’t feel.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Facts can’t figure.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Facts can’t fix.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” —Epictetus
“Foolishness always results when the tongue outraces the brain.” —Unknown
“Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home.” —Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu)
“Having the idea is not living the reality, of anything.” —Rumi
“How can it be known that what I call knowing is not really not knowing and what I call not knowing is not really knowing?” —Chung Tzu
“I am calling attention just to the main points of these tremendously important matters, which can be understood better by pious meditation than explained by human language.” —Martin Chemnitz
“I can answer your questions better If I am not thinking.” —Wayne Gretzky, In Search of Greatness
“Identity is invariably false to facts.” —Alfred Korzybski
“If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.” —Voltaire
“If your map and reality disagree, your map is wrong.” —US Marine Corps saying
“In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice they are not.”—unknown (Falsely attributed to Yogi Berra and others, but perhaps it is from Jan van de Snepscheut.)
“It is an immutable law of business that words are words, promises are promises, but only performance is reality.” —Harold S. Geneen, CEO and President of ITT
“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” —Epictetus
“Knowledge does not do.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Knowledge does not get it.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Knowledge does not know.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Knowledge has no intelligence.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Knowledge is an addiction, as drink; knowledge does not bring understanding. Knowledge can be taught, but not wisdom; there must be freedom from knowledge for the coming of wisdom.” —J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living, First Series, p. 169
“Knowledge is not it.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Language does not touch the one who lives in us.” —Rumi
“Most people believe they see the world as it is. However, we really see the world as we are.” —Anonymous
“Negative thinking is the highest form of intelligence.” —Jiddu Krishnamurti, 1895-1986: Indian philosopher, Commentaries on Living, Second Series, p. 71
“Never trust words. Some people have sugar on their lips but venom in their hearts.” —unknown
“Nothing is either clear or unclear except your thinking.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Nothing is more articulate than silence.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Nothing makes sense only beings make sense.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” —Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900
“Nothing worth knowing can be understood with the mind.” —Woody Allen, Manhattan
“Now Tao by its very nature can never be defined.” —Chung Tzu
“Once you label me, you negate me.” —Søren Kierkegaard
Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.” —Meister Eckhart
“Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything.” —Alan Watts
“Our temperament decides the value of everything brought to us by fortune.” —Francois de La Rochefoucauld
“Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time.” —Alan Watts
“Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein
“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” —Proverbs 16:24
“Practice then from the start to say to every harsh impression, ‘You are an impression, and not at all the thing you appear to be.’ Then examine it and test it by these rules you have, and firstly, and chiefly, by this: whether the impression has to do with the things that are up to us, or those that are not; and if it has to do with the things that are not up to us, be ready to reply, ‘It is nothing to me.’” —Epictetus
“Problems only exist in the human mind.” —Anthony de Mello
“Revere those things beyond science which really matter and about which it is so difficult to speak.”―Werner Heisenberg
“Sentimentality and emotionalism have nothing whatsoever to do with love.” —J. Krishnamurti
“Silence is more musical than any song.” —Christina Rossetti
“Some man holdeth his tongue, because he hath not to answer: and some keepeth silence, knowing his time.” —Ecclesiasticus 20:6
“Speech by its very nature cannot express the absolute.” —Chung Tzu
“That’s why the philosophers warn us not to be satisfied with mere learning, but to add practice and then training. For as time passes we forget what we learned and end up doing the opposite, and hold opinions the opposite of what we should.” —Epictetus
“The analysis of error begins with the analysis of language.” —Hans Reichenbach, The Rise of Scientific Philosophy
“The battle plan is not the battle.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” —Helen Keller
“The blueprint is not the building.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The clever use of words does not constitute an effective argument despite its potential for being amusing or witty.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The correct way of living is not found simply by discussing the theory of it. Even without study you can experience it, but you have to live it.” —Dhammapada: A Proper Life, verse 259
“The description is not the described.” —J. Krishnamurti
“The expressed is not the experienced.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The fact is one thing and the idea about the fact is another.” —J. Krishnamurti
“The first duty of love is to listen.” —Paul Tillich, 1886-1965
“The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him? Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?” —Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu)
“The little word ‘is’ has its tragedies; it marries and identifies different things with the greatest innocence; and yet no two are ever identical, and if therein lies the charm of wedding them and calling them one, therein lies the danger.” —George Santayana, Skepticism and Animal Faith, Introduction to a System of Philosophy, p.71
“The map is not the mapped anymore than the blueprints for a building are that building.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The map is not the territory.” —Alfred Korzybski
“The map is one thing, the territory is another thing, and thoughts about the map and territory are still other things.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The mind’s job is to validate what it thinks.” —Byron Katie
“The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence; by asking this question one is merely admitting to a store of unsatisfied libido to which something else must have happened, a kind of fermentation leading to sadness and depression.” —Sigmund Freud
“The most precious things in speech are pauses.” —Ralph Richardson
“The pieces of a chariot are not a chariot.” —Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching (39), translated by VJ Henry
“The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.” —B. F. Skinner
“The reality we can put into words is never reality itself.” ―Werner Heisenberg
“The recording is not the recorded.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The revolution will be complete when the language is perfect.” —George Orwell
“The river you see today is gone tomorrow; despite this, you look tomorrow and see it again.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The thought is not anything but the thought.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The thought is not the thing.” —Alfred Korzybski
“The thought is not the thing.” —J. Krishnamurti
“The universe is change, life is an opinion.” —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“The words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels.” —Hazrat Inayat Khan
“There are no lines in nature, only areas of color, one against another” —Edouard Manet
“There is no state of mind in which we are directly aware of the table; all our knowledge of the table is really knowledge of truths, and the actual thing which is the table is not, strictly speaking, known to us at all.” —Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy
“There is nothing permanent except variation.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Therefore that knowledge which stops at what it does not know, is the highest knowledge.” —Chung Tzu
“Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.” —Immanuel Kant
“Thus the greater part of what would commonly pass as knowledge is more or less probable opinion.” —Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy
“Thus the negative perception is the triumph of consciousness.” —Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947: British mathematician and philosopher
“To deal with facts, you must be in an egoless state; otherwise, everything you think or say will be an interpretation, not a fact.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“To see we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at.” —Claude Monet
“To think that being righteous is the best one can do and to do one’s utmost to be righteous will, on the contrary, bring many mistakes. The way is in a higher place than righteousness.” ―Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.” —Lao Tzu
“We are never as fortunate or unfortunate as we imagine.” —Francois de La Rochefoucauld
“We are sort of a mirror, and mirror only inside us, in our nervous system, what is going on outside of our nervous system.” —Alfred Korzybski
“We can complain of nothing but ourselves.” —Seneca
“We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” ―Werner Heisenberg
“We know hardly anything adequately, few things a priori, and most things through experience.” ―Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
“We need silence to be able to touch souls.” —Mother Teresa
“We ought not to receive as reasoning any of the observations we make concerning identity, and the relations of time and place; since in none of them the mind can go beyond what is immediately present to the senses.” —David Hume
“We ought to inquire as to what sort of knowledge human reason is capable of attaining before we set about acquiring knowledge of things in particular.” —Rene Descartes
“We say the map is different from the territory. But what is the territory? Operationally, somebody went out with a retina or a measuring stick and made representations which were then put on paper. What is on the paper map is a representation of what was in the retinal representation of the man who made the map; and as you push the question back, what you find is an infinite regress, an infinite series of maps. The territory never gets in at all. … Always, the process of representation will filter it out so that the mental world is only maps of maps, ad infinitum.” —George Bateson
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” —William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
“What we cannot speak of, we must pass over in silence.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein
“What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.” —John Ruskin
“What you believe you experience.” —J. Krishnamurti
“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson (paraphrased)
“What you know, you know, what you don’t know, you don’t know. This is true wisdom.” —Confucius
“Whatever you say something is, is something else.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Whatever you say something is—it is not.” —Alfred Korzybski
“When one has an image about oneself one is surely insane, one lives in a world of illusion.” —J. Krishnamurti, The Flight of the Eagle, p. 57
“When thoughts arise, then do all things arise. When thoughts vanish, then do all things vanish.” —Huang Po
“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” —T. S. Eliot
“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” —Leonardo da Vinci
“Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
“Words are opinion, not fact. Action is the only truth.” ―Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“Words differently arranged have a different meaning and meanings differently arranged have a different effect.” —Blaise Pascal
“You’re only a victim to the degree of what your perception allows.” —Shannon L. Alder
“You can be educated beyond sense into verbal realities. Hence, the common criticism heard from the self-educated about the school-educated being without common sense.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can call pepper salt but it will never be salt, and even if you could magically transform pepper into salt, then it would be salt, not pepper.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can’t judge a book by its cover.” —Aphorism
“You don’t have time to think on the ice.” —Wayne Gretzky, In Search of Greatness
“Your body does not eliminate poisons by knowing their names. To try to control fear or depression or boredom by calling them names is to resort to superstition of trust in curses and invocations.” —Alan Watts
“Your focus becomes your experience.” —William James
“Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is colored by such impressions.” —Marcus Aurelius
“Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points.” —D.T. Suzuki
#Word #Logic: 2019-01-27
1. When the logic of words is considered more important than the logic of realities, truth becomes the enemy.
2. When the logic of words is considered more important than the logic of realities, then all freedoms can be removed in the name of freedom.
3. When the logic of words is considered more important than the logic of realities, then persecution and genocide can be considered as acts of justice.
4. When the logic of words is considered more important than the logic of realities, then all arguments can be defeated with emotions and without any need for evidence.
5. When the logic of words is considered more important than the logic of realities, then nothing will be understood as what it is but only as to how it might serve political opinion.
#Generally #True: 2019-04-20
1. “All” (always, complete, entire, total, universal) is a generalization and as such inherently contains the possibility for exceptions and variations; however, its use easily leads to inaccuracies and overgeneralizations when applied to specifics.
2. “It is …,” is a specification that can be accurate about qualities but not about the all of something because of the limits of categories, names, and words being tied to individual units of description, intensity (importance), measurement, or pattern.
3. Relativism is useful in dealing with particulars and specifics but soon loses its way when dealing with generalities and globals because of a lack of accounting for persistence, repetition, and stability for areas of comparison and periods of time.
4. It is best when using general or specific modes of analysis and categorization to apply them to their kind, for example, generalizations to globals (that is the way manufacturing works) and identities to specifics (it is a blue car).
5. Thoughts pointing to descriptions, intensities, measurements, patterns, and salients are useful; however, a problem arises when we start to regard the aspects, descriptions, patterns, and qualities of something as that thing itself and the problem doubles as we semantically condition our mind to regard the thoughts as those descriptions which are those things.
#Forget #Words: 2019-07-23
1. Words are bridges; when you cross to the other side, then you can let the bridge and words pass out of your mind.
2. Words are stairs; when you reach the next level, then you can leave behind the stairs and words that got you there.
3. Words are elevators; when the doors open to a new floor, then you can let the elevator and words return to service someone else.
4. Words are ladders; when you finish climbing a ladder to a roof garden, then you disregard the ladder and words that got you up and into the garden.
5. Words are steps; when you step up to the next level, then you can forget about the steps and words while you enjoy where they helped you to arrive.
#Words #Limit: 2019-07-24
1. Speaking words to explain something will set boundaries and limits on what it can be.
2. Speaking words to explain something often reduces the possibilities that it can offer.
3. Speaking words to explain something often reduces the meanings that it might express.
4. Speaking words to explain something often reduces other potential ways of understanding it, such as direct perception, intuition, and motor manipulation.
5. Knowing when to speak and when to allow exploration and discovery to occur unimpeded and uninterrupted is part of the art of education.
#Inside #Words: 2019-07-25
1. Words and a clock might indicate the time, but time is not inside the words or the clock.
2. Words and a telescope can point to the stars, but the stars are not inside the words or telescope.
3. Words and a chisel can carve a horse for your mind, but the horse is not inside the words or chisel.
4. Words and a camera can share a picture of a person, but the person is not inside the words or camera.
5. Words and a computer can describe, explain, or review a movie, but the movie is not inside the words’ or computer’s description, explanation, or review.
#Thought #Nothing: 2019-10-09
1. To feed the hungry, you give them food, not thoughts of food.
2. To refresh the thirsty, you give them water, not thoughts of water.
3. To shelter the poor, you give them shelter, not thoughts of shelter.
4. To clothe the naked, you give them clothes, not thoughts of clothes.
5. To comfort the sick and imprisoned, you visit them, not think thoughts of comfort.
- For more on semantics and words, please read Planet Earth: Insane Asylum for the Universe, Second Edition.
- You can also understand more by reading We’re All Insane, Second Edition.
- If your reading skill is high, then read Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics, Fifth Edition by Alfred Korzybski.