Sunday, February 07, 2010

Nothing to quibble

I willingly accept LD's quibbling remarks on my statement about the incorrect use of words by the PC neo-language.

Read this interesting quote from Confucius I found somewhere prefaced to an analogous comment on Rahm Emanuel's fully legitimate use of the word "retarded" (for which he was reproached and had to make public apology because of its political incorrectness):

If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.

It comes from about the 6th century BC, and it seems written for today. That's why I'd like to address to Confucius the question: how do we know which names are correct? Not being possible, I'll try to give myself an answer.

Equality is not sameness. No qualms about that. Let me illustrate it with a mathematical example.

5+2 = 4+3: they are equal, making equally 7, and though they are not the same.

We could give to human beings different numbers, which, raised to infinite, make them equal. Equal, but not the same, because the numbers even so raised remain different. This might be the key to correct naming.

Take away infinity, and you are only left with differences; take away differences, and you are only left with the indifference of infinity. Try to do both at the same time, and you confuse equality with sameness.

It isn't inconceivable: it is enough to invert the operation, and raise numbers to zero. In slightly more vulgar terms: declare things indifferent, and you reduce them to naught. The same as an embryo, according to some. Inconceivable, because contradictory, is wanting to keep on giving names to those who are born.

Names will be then necessarily incorrect. And, as Confucius suggests, affairs won't "be carried on to success".

This for the first quibble of the LD. The second will need another post.


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