“I am not a rich person, but I am a rich person.”
This is a story about how we use language and how we can enable ourselves to be stronger, better communicators. I was born in 1972 and grew up listening to my teachers explain things to me and I was like a sponge absorbing everything I could. I was fascinated by books and learning and found myself nearly unable to pick a single career path because my interests were so wide and varied. Sure, when I was 5 i wanted to be a firefighter. My mom has one of those caricatures you would get at the fair or street market of me as a very young boy with this giant head and a firefighter hat rushing to put out a house fire. Within a couple of years I had changed what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a chemist. I asked my family to buy me chemistry sets and would experiment into the night with the fascinating compounds and experiments that were readily available in the 70’s for a young scientific mind. I never became a chemist although I am still fascinated by chemistry and science.
Still to this day at the age of 47, I don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up. I still see myself as that young boy. I have not changed all that much even though a multitude of learning has transpired in the between years of then and now. I am still that curious ageless soul that just want to know as much as I can about everything. I like all topics and probably my favorite thing in the world is to talk to people about things. It doesn’t matter what it is, I just like communication and I have learned a simple principle of understanding language that I would like to share with you.
Language is the code of understanding. What I mean by that is that words and vocabulary are the tools of language and are by nature imperfect. We are more likely to misunderstand meaning than we are to grasp a perfect understanding of what someone is communicating to us.
I was lucky enough at one point in my life to get a free session with a life coach, one that I could never possibly afford in my early phase of discovery as the cost for his services were an astounding 10k/month(in the 90’s). I was attending a very small private group workshop on alternative currencies and money systems in upstate New York. The free life-coach session consisted of a 1-on-1 meeting with the coach where we talked about my beliefs and goals and how I interpreted myself, my future and what I am here for. He began the interview by pointing out the dictionary sitting next to him on the table and explained to me that we would use the dictionary to decode possible misuses of vocabulary. He said that misinterpretation can be a sticking point for our potential and how that has far reaching effects in our daily lives and the future we are building. He was talking about a philosophy of understanding and using language to enable ourselves. We also agreed to avoid certain words that were based on fantasy. The word “should” was one that he explained is a fantasy and does not exist in any meaningful way in normal communication.
Even though I only spent an hour with this guy, it was a pivot point in my life where I learned to treat language with a level of discerning I had yet to come to on my own. I cant even remember his full name but the simple rule of using the dictionary to define words was a monumental concept that I had previously overlooked. It sounds so mundane and obvious but really this concept is something that I find to be severely lacking in the average soul. It is a linguistic epidemic of society, that most people assume they know what all words mean but really we have many regional, familial and nationalistic nuances that give people different meanings of certain words and phrases. This is one of those a-ha moments where all the teachings I had learned previously came to a perfect moment of clarity. I find it surprising that more people think the dictionary is some useless tool for librarians instead of a communication reference for removing cognitive dissonance and finding better understanding with our family, friends, colleagues and personal contacts.
I have a few clear examples I would like to share with you. These are things that I noticed before I ever attended that meeting and were already in the back of my mind as major issues with society.
Since I was born in 1972 and grew up at the end of the Cold War era, I began noticing some things that didn’t make any sense. I noticed that there was this word “communism” that was very evil. It was the worst thing in the world and that country over there is where it was all happening. I’m talking about the Soviet Union. As most kids don’t walk around with dictionaries, I took the meaning of communism to be this horrible thing that must have been like murder or something equally unethical. Many times the meanings that we associate with certain words are not learned from education but from our interpersonal relationships. We just come to understand that this word means that thing. No need to look up murder in the dictionary, right? I think we can all agree on the definition of that word fairly easily. I noticed that that word “communism” was often coupled with the word “propaganda”. I did not realize at that young age that these terms had been weaponized by concepts of nationalism, I just knew they were bad and that the Soviet Union was evil and I should hate them. Something about that didn’t jive with me though since I was raised in a Christian/Catholic family.
As a child I was first taken aback by the conflicting concepts of religions. Something seemed off. There was an incongruence between the teachings of our religion and the fact that there were these constant wars going on. Not just that, there was something very odd to me. Why did 3 of the primary religions of the world claim the same approximate geographic area as their holy land? This was something that I could not understand. I think it was around 11 or 13 that I abandoned the concept of Christianity and Catholicism internally and started looking at similarities between religions. It made more sense to me that we were separated by problems of region and language and that since most of the religious teachings were synonymous across all religions that we had more reasons to be together than to be separate. The young boy in me could not understand the war methodology and I began gravitating towards Buddhism as a primary religious ideal. This was exactly the moment when I recognized that our country was also using propaganda. I noticed that our country much like the religion I was raised with was susceptible to the problems of institutions and suffered from a tendency to misinterpret all other countries as enemies.
When I was 19, I met this great guy named Charles Moore. He was called “Father Charlie” and I had some friends telling me that there was this guy talking about the same things I was and that I had to go see him. Good enough for me, I thought. It turned out he was giving talks in the city of San Luis Obispo, CA at the Yoga Center every few months and so I found myself meeting this man for the first time who was in his 70’s and realizing that I had a great deal in common with him. It was monumental for me. We were cut from 2 sides of the same cloth and I was so appreciative for him and the knowledge he shared. At times I would notice something like a halo around his body while speaking as he had a physical radiance of positivity which is something I did not have. He had come to many of the same conclusions as I had about religion, history and the meaning of life but he had a great deal more experience than I had so I saw him as a sort of teacher. Father Charlie was an interesting person who like me had a wide variety of interests and an insatiable appetite for learning. He had been a lawyer who abandoned law after a period and decided to enter the Catholic priesthood. In fact he had been a priest at the local Catholic church, the Mission San Luis Obispo. Oddly enough much like me, he had abandoned the church at a certain point and represented a type of teaching that was all about lightheartedness and community. He was a linguist too and would often decode the history of important words which gave them new meaning and context.
Thanks to Father Charlie, I had found a way of looking at language as a lens to deeper understanding. I knew that by default my learning had been limited to what I was taught and that it is better to have a desire to find truth and allow for mistaken perceptions than to live life as a know-it-all constantly talking as if my interpretations were universal. I realized the inherent purpose of language was to overcome misunderstanding and that we were prone to ego-inflate our own perspective.
One of the tools Father Charlie would use was to tell stories much like Jesus or the Buddha and he crossed and mixed religions up like they were ingredients in a recipe for unity. He would throw those ingredients in a virtual blender and what came out was hypothesis of humanity and our true commonalities. Another tool he would use to decode meanings was sifting through the history of words and how they evolved to understand how the word might have changed and he would break the english language down to the latin roots and help us understand how we could find meaning that were deeper than the surface interpretations given by modern society and even the dictionary. Let’s take the word religion and break it down like he did once for our group.
Religion consists of 2 latin roots. RE and LIGION. RE means to repeat as in a pattern something that happens over and over again. LIGION comes from the word LEGOS which means “to bond”. I found this exciting because just by breaking that word down it takes away from tribalist nature of how I interpreted that word and offers a new way of understanding what religion really came from. It was the ability to have a repeated bonding experience with life, amazing! Our interpretations create our realities. I was growing closer and closer to realizing that my hidden purpose in life was somehow tied in with this concept of growing a deeper understanding of vocabulary and breaking words down to base components and then using language to help create harmony and community.
Ok, so let’s go back to that word communism. What is communism? Is it the evil thing I had been taught? If a commune is a group of people that share possessions and responsibilities and “ism” is the practice of doing something then isn’t that exactly what our country is and was founded upon? Aren’t we just a very big commune that has lost its understanding of itself? Why have we demonized actual communes within the system out of some type of nationalist agenda and blind faith in doctrines of individualism? At what point was the family concept abandoned and turned into rugged individualism so that some people have all the wealth while our neighbors starve and we create borders and fences to keep everyone out?
Since the advent of DNA into our understanding of humanity we have learned that we have more similarities to other races than had previously been assumed. We have fought countless wars across many continents and nations always killing in the name of religion, technology and elitist methodology even though we are technically the same. Did you know that in mitochondrial DNA, we can trace all human life back to a single mother? They call her in the scientific lexicon “mitochondrial Eve”. That is an obvious reference to the Bible’s Old Testament story of Adam and Eve. Could it be that some of the stories from the Old Testament are based on facts that the ancient societies had passed down from generation to generation? Fascinating!
Father Charlie and I were of one mind when it came to this concept. It turns out this is why he was eventually kicked out of the Catholic church because he had a unified field theory about religions and humanity all coming from a single source. Both Father Charlie and I had stumbled upon Zechariah Sitchin and before I ever met him I was talking about the cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia and the stark similarities to the stories of the Old Testament. It made sense to me that the stories of the Old Testament were simply repeats of the existing texts and if you wanted to find the truth about that component of history, then those tablets considered to be the first written language on Earth would be the best source. Just like the game you play when you are a kid, Telephone, stories seem to get fantasized as they get retold and even changed to fit the narratives that the established leaderships wish to push. If you want to know what the first kid said you had to go talk to him because after just a few people the entire story starts to break down from the original statement.
The teachings of the great masters have more in common with each other than the religions make them out to have. My favorite thing about Father Charlie was he always managed to bring his stories back around to the concept of lightheartedness and community.
We can learn from the great masters teachings if we enable ourselves to look at life through a lens of lightheartedness. It seems like we are in conflict with our egos to achieve this but it is indeed possible. If you take a step back from individualism it is apparent that we are one. There is one humanity not many. The races of humans are illusions as shown by that mitochondrial DNA connection. We are all brothers and sisters coming from the same source but divided in the modern era by our egos and fear of new understandings.
One of the biggest problems of the modern era is language and translation. Concepts of changing words to be less offensive is an assault on communication. I hate to say it because some people will get offended by this and I am sorry if this offends you but the word “retarded” is not a bad thing and is not offensive. It just means slower. Slower is great and we need to transcend the personal offensiveness of definitions within our lexicon. This word is a perfect example of embracing the value of language for what its real purpose is, understanding. The concept of being offended by a word is ludicrous and the action of removing it from an existing vocabulary is a detriment to us all. Words are benign. Yes people can harness words to create offensive statements but that is not the fault of the word but the fault of bad intention, of fear and of loneliness. Most people who are being offensive are actually crying out for help. We only need to take a step back and look at the purpose of language to know that removing words from our ability to communicate actually creates cognitive dissonance and limits our ability to fully communicate and come to understanding.
Now in this current era we have a new reality shift happening and it seems like the Coronavirus pandemic is going to give us an opportunity to create a change in ourselves and in how we define reality. So many of the principles we were taught as children need to be reworked. We need to re-tool the capacity to do good internally AND externally. Now is the time to re-examine what makes us feel good and to understand that when we take care of each other we live a better life ourselves. The macro and the micro are connected. Just like our atomic structure is replicated in scale within the solar system and then the galaxies and then the universe, our society is a product of what we feel inside. There is an undeniable good feeling you get in your heart when you share. We are suffering as a humanity from the lack of that feeling. The endless wars are now in contradiction to the benefit of humanity and they always were.
The most important messages come from our hearts and right now we can all use a little more love in our lives. Our hearts have a radiant energy field that extends for 60 feet! Our brains have an approximate 3 foot energy field. There are many languages in this world and our hearts appear to have their own language and that is the language of love. If you just listen to your heart, then your life will undoubtedly be more full of love.
I challenge everyone reading this to think about every word we say that is not coming from your heart. I challenge you to ask yourself regularly if you have a good understanding of any word that comes up in daily life. It is so easy and immediate to look things up on the phones. We have the potential to challenge ourselves to re-evaluate negativity and learn to have excellent vocabularies that are open to being mistaken. I love the feeling of saying to myself, “I dont know what that really means” and looking a word up that I have any doubt about. It takes only a moment and when you put it all together, there is a very real progression of better understanding in yourself and all around you.
It is sad that we have a president (currently) that has none of these features or abilities. It is a symptom of a sickness in our population. We need to reclaim the leadership of knowledge and of putting those with real talent and skills in the forefront of society. We are seeing new trends in propaganda with concepts of gaslighting and political correctness. This is a real threat to our greater community and needs to be eradicated. We need to look at words like liberty, justice, community, trust and really ask ourselves if we understand those concepts. Get a dictionary if you don’t have one or if you can afford it check out the Oxford English Dictionary. That is a great reference that I would recommend to everyone as it really goes deep into the history of the english language. Hey OED if you want to give me a free membership I could really use it as I am about as poor as you can get. My bank account is at $2.10 right now and I have no job. Seriously if anybody has any work, consider this my application. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
I wish you all the best and I have unending hope for the future of humanity to conquer our greatest challenges!