The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Meaning Is Tricky

We are an irritated people these days. We seem divided on EVERYTHING. Part of the problem may be that we just don't understand each other's meaning as clearly as we think we might.

For example, if you are of a certain age, TMI will never mean too much information, but will forever be Three Mile Island, the nuclear plant that gave us such a scare back in the day.

All those little magnetized ovals for cars featuring initials for various island beauty spots ... well, those are easily misidentified by those who never go to such islands. For me, when I see OBX, I do not see Outer Banks (especially since there is no X present) but OBNOXIOUS. Sorry, it is no statement on the island, those who live there, and those who love it for vacation ... it is just what comes first to mind ever since I didn't know what it stood for. My wife sees "OUT OF THE BOX" in the same OBX.

We've all seen the misunderstandings that take place (often generationally, yes) when commonly used acronyms online are not correctly understood, like the mother who informs family via email or phone that a favorite aunt has died and ends it with LOL, thinking it means lots of love.

We haven't even approached the misunderstandings that come from growing up in different regions, different cultures, different neighborhoods, different races, different genders, you name it. There are just so many ways and so many times when we are rubbing each other the wrong way, and we don't even mean to ... really. So, why don't we all walk a little more gently with each other. Community is a beautiful thing that we were meant for (now how are you going to interpret that from your background ... or belief system) and we should encourage it to grow. Let's not be instantly reactive with each other. Let's listen more, ask for more information when needed, and approach each other with the idea that we might actually learn something from the other person. Let's set aside the need to "win" every encounter, turning every conversation into a meaningless, mindless contest and every issue a black and white, win or lose only proposition. Most of all, let's be mindful that meaning is tricky. 

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