Friday, 12 February 2016

Language (How It Can Distort Meaning)

I startled someone the other day by stating (admittedly slightly mischievously) that I did not believe in human rights or equality. Naturally by this I was not saying that anyone should be treated badly or unfairly or that some people can lord it over others because they are intrinsically superior. What I meant was that I regard these concepts as deriving from a false premise, namely the materialistic conception of life, and see them as making materialistic assumptions which I do not share. In short, they express and assume a worldview I consider to be incorrect and one, moreover, that has done a good deal of damage in the world.

As far as I am aware, the idea of human rights as something independent from God derives from the French Revolution or, at least, the philosophies that gave birth to that. But this was the first society in history that was predominantly based on a materialistic view of humanity. The thinkers behind the philosophies that inspired it may have been reacting to injustices in the world of the time but their motivating impulse was humanistic rather than spiritual and, if they didn't actively deny the idea of a spiritual basis to existence, they certainly gave it secondary importance. Consequently their ideas were rooted in the primacy of Man as he is in this world rather than the traditional idea that Man is a pilgrim in this world with his true source and being and destiny elsewhere.

Although the idea of the equality of human souls derives from Christianity, it is understood there in the sense that all souls are equal before God and have equal value in His eyes. Thus it is understood spiritually. But the materialistic viewpoint takes truths that are real on the spiritual plane, or in metaphysical terms, and brings them down to the relative world where they are no longer operative or, at least, not operative in the same way. Hence it misinterprets them by seeing them in the wrong context. When the Masters said that men are by no means equal on the earth plane they did not mean that men are intrinsically unequal but that equality as a general principle does not apply here. The relative world is the world of difference and is naturally ordered hierarchically. If equality is enforced here it will inevitably lead to suppression, the loss of higher truths (as everything is levelled off) and eventually disorder.

So, if I do not believe in human rights and equality or, as I would rather put it, do not accept that the argument of how human beings should relate to each other should be framed in those terms because they carry inbuilt assumptions which I think are wrong, what do I believe in? It's very simple. I believe in justice, mercy, love and truth as proceeding from a divine Creator. Framing things in these terms puts one in right relationship with the order of the universe in a way that framing them in a humanistic way, with its belief that Man is as he is here with nothing else to him, no soul, no Creator, no eternal destiny or spiritual purpose, can never do.

But what has all this got to do with the subject of this post, language? Simply this. Language creates meaning so the wrong language or terminology creates the wrong meaning. False terminology contains inbuilt false presuppositions which are taken on board by anyone who uses that terminology. If a spiritual person uses language that derives from a materialistic philosophy (as most is nowadays) then his spiritual outlook will be affected because it will soon be seen in the light of the materialistic yardstick which has become the norm and, as the norm, will require all else to adapt to it. If you use the language of a belief system you will accept its values and end up thinking its thoughts. At the very least, your thoughts will be subordinated to the accepted truths of the system and only be considered true themselves to the degree that they go along with it or, at best, don't conflict with it. Therefore I would say to all those who acknowledge a spiritual reality to life, watch your language! For if you speak from within the framework of a materialistic worldview, using the language of a humanism that does not accept transcendent truth, then you are making that ideology the default one, and will always be on the back foot in any discussion.

Note: I've included this piece in the Kali Yuga section of the blog because one of the characteristics of that age is distortion of meaning which includes presenting secondary realities as though they were primary with the consequence of the foundational truth of that primary reality being lost or obscured.

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