The Meaning of Words: Assessing the Credibility of The Source

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Q: The main crux of this question regards the concepts and differing opinions about "becoming," "desire" and "intent."

Tom: Words are imprecise symbols and metaphors. They mean different thing to different people because both context and interpretation is personal. "Becoming," "desire" and "intent" are three words that are probably fuzzier and more ill defined than most because they describe states of mind which can only be subjective. Twisting oneself into a pretzel trying to determine the precise meaning emanating from the mouth of another is an exercise in futility and much to do about nothing. The point is what significance do the words spoken by another have for you. How does your interpretation of what is said make your reality more profitable to you. Take from words whatever you can that is useful to you today and leave the rest. You can do no more. As you change, so does the meaning of whatever words you hear.

Was Seth real or Castaneda's Don Juan real or imaginary? Who cares? It makes no difference! Can you learn or grow from what they write -- do you find significance in their words that you can use? If so, the source is irrelevant. The same goes for great sages of the past. Take what you find useful today and leave the rest. You will never know exactly what they meant because you must interpret what they say in terms of your own experience and understanding which can never be their experience and understanding. Agonizing over what you think they might have meant is a waste of time. Trying to rationalize the precise differences between two speakers only compounds the uselessness of your effort – it doesn’t matter. Believing that you know exactly what they meant, or that you or anyone could determine what that might have been, is just another belief based in fantasy. You or anybody else can only determine what you think they meant and then compound that error by believing that you know exactly what they meant. Everybody thinks they know – nobody actually can know. Fortunately it does not make any difference. What they meant is academic flimflam to be argued endlessly by opposing egos who believe in and are searching for a certainty that does not exist. The only real significance is how what was said affects each individual -- particularly in the long term. Let the words go if they do not hold value for you. If you think they do bring added value to your existence, take that value and apply it. Let the results of that application determine what is or is not of value to you at this point in your life. Open-minded skepticism and living gracefully with uncertainty will keep you informed as you change and what is valuable or not valuable to you changes. Stop looking for the “experts” to tell you what is correct or real, or significant, or what to believe -- you must figure that out for yourself -- nobody can figure that out for you.

Read the words of others and evaluate them in light of your own personal experience. Apply what you can and assess the value of it to yourself based on the results of that application. Be open to change always. Who cares what Rajneesh, or the Buddhists, or the Christians or Tom Campbell says about the nature of reality? By all means, study everything written and said about the nature of reality (or anything else) carefully in order to better assess the possibilities, but if you ever want to be more than a hapless believer of some sort, you must come to your own conclusions based on your own experience. Picking over the bones of other people’s ideas can never constitute anything more than rough inexact input into the process of personal discovery. Be your own person; learn to live gracefully with uncertainty until you have collected enough personal data to come to a tentative hypothesis that is always open to change.

Then continue to live gracefully with uncertainty as you carefully rank and rate your many hypotheses as to which are more or less probable based on your own carefully interpreted experience base, understanding, and beliefs as they exist today. The path of Big Picture knowledge must be blazed anew by each individual – one cannot ride down this path on the backs of those who have gone before – divining truth as you go from the words of others. Wisdom cannot be learned from another. Truth must be verified by your own experience or it is not your truth. To live with uncertainty as you discover your own truth requires courage. The good news is that this is not a timed test, you have forever.

Desire in the service of an individual’s fear and ego is the only desire that must be eliminated. Just as when we talk of one needing to be detached we mean being detached from fear and ego – not from life, or love, or existence. Words can mean many things – the context is key. After the expressions of fear and ego are eliminated from desire, one is left with intent. It is intent that animates consciousness (moves data).

Words are tricky little things – one must read between the lines rather than try to logically parse one’s interpreted meaning of another’s words because all meaning is necessarily subjective.

Tom C

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