Social Question

saint's avatar

Is half of what you say, meaningless?

Asked by saint (3972points) February 14th, 2012

Kahlil Gibran wrote “Half of what I say is meaningless” but he says it so the other half will reach you. This sounds like a lot of New Age bullshit to me, but then again, I am sure some measure of what any of us says is meaningless, for whatever reason we do it. Half seems like a lot. What do you think?

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33 Answers

6rant6's avatar

No, but the other half is.

Berserker's avatar

I denno. I may think that half of what I say is either meaningless or meaningful based on what I think, but I’ll never know unless I look at the reverberations that my words have caused on others. Or lack thereof.

’‘crickets chirping’’

Fuckin crickets…

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Oh yes, I’m afraid so.

wundayatta's avatar

Meaningless? I think that is a sense of modesty speaking. Or humility. Listen to me, but I understand if you don’t understand because surely I am not that good a writer that all my words are jewels. But maybe half of them are.

It’s not that the rest are meaningless, but in the overall scheme of things, they don’t really matter that much. I don’t seek to steal your attention. Yet I’m sorry, in advance, if you read what I write and find some of it gobbledygook. For sure, some of it must be. And why not half? Half is a good round percentage. I am lucky if you get some good meaning from half of what I say.

But dammit! I put my all into all the words, so maybe I’m really better than half meaningful!

tinyfaery's avatar

Hell, most things I say are meaningless. I’m the sarcasm queen. That accounts for 60% right there.

JLeslie's avatar

I kind of look at it like when I read something or listen to someone, they might say a bunch of stuff I already know, or things I am not interested in, but the 10–50% that does interest me or enrich my life somehow was worth listening to the whole essay. I figure when I talk, a bunch of what I say is dead wood or unnecessary to my audience. So, yeah, I will go along with the 50%.

Pandora's avatar

Probably even more. I mean I talk to the dog when we go on walks and he still continues to act like he doesn’t get anything I say. So I’m pretty sure I am wasting my breath and it is all meaningless to him.

Berserker's avatar

@wundayatta I understand from your post that while some of what we say may be meaningless, it’s only meaningless because the material that we attribute to with words is just crap anyways. Is that what you meant? Or am I being all conceited emo again? XD

ETpro's avatar

I wood knot say sew, wood yew?

Berserker's avatar

@ETpro I wood knot say sew, wood yew j00?

Fixed amirite?

ragingloli's avatar

Nothing of what I say is meaningless.
Ever word I utter is a pearl of brilliance and wisdom.

ETpro's avatar

@Eye sea watt u mein.

blueiiznh's avatar

meaningless garbage = ½ meaningless

Sunny2's avatar

Gee, I’m not much of a talker. If half of it is meaningless, I may as well shut up altogether.

King_Pariah's avatar

Nah, not half, 100% of what I say is.

Facade's avatar

Not at all

Jeruba's avatar

I wouldn’t be surprised.

AshLeigh's avatar

Probably not half… 49% maybe…

augustlan's avatar

Sure. If we just cut to the chase, we’d all say a lot less. But life wouldn’t be very interesting, would it?

mattbrowne's avatar

Language is full of redundancy for a reason.

wundayatta's avatar

@Symbeline What I say and what you understand are two different things. Hopefully there is a lot of overlap, but I’m saying I’m lucky if there’s 50% overlap. It’s not either of our faults, either. I think we both want to communicate well. Unfortunately, due to a gazillion reasons, half of what I say doesn’t make sense to you. I hope that is as bad as it gets and that, in fact, mostly you get 75%. Maybe even 100% sometimes.

As @mattbrowne says, that’s why language contains so much redundancy. If you don’t get it this time, maybe you will during the next go around.

rebbel's avatar

I never really researched the amount of meaningless crap I                  
     percent, or there about                        !
       so, yeah, must be a truth in that.

thorninmud's avatar

Meaningless doesn’t equal useless. So much of what we say in a typical day really has very little to do with conveying information, but is about maintaining relationships. It’s social lubricant.

I’m an introvert. Decidedly so, in fact. One thing that seems to set introverts apart from extroverts is that introverts aren’t adept at—and so really have a distaste for—this kind of language-as-social-lubricant thing. Introverts tend to only want to speak when they really have something to say. But that doesn’t keep us from secretly envying extroverts for their ability to banter, because we do see how that strengthens social bonds.

cookieman's avatar

50% seems low for me. Especially as I am prone to rant or tell the same stories over again. Even if my stories are new, they’re quite tedious.

Berserker's avatar

@wundayatta Well yeah, language is awkward. It’s also something we created out of necessity, or maybe to better appeal to our sense of perception, or as a means to understand it better when we uh…try to understand something.

Which is kinda fucked up if you think about it…it leads me into a field I don’t get; how do I know that I understand what you’re saying? How is it confirmed? Probably through something that’s a lot more primordial than language? And if that doesn’t happen, then what?

Earthgirl's avatar

mean·ing·less/ˈmēniNGlis/
Adjective:
Having no meaning or significance.
Having no purpose or reason.

Ever catch yourself talking and talking and trying to explain something and thinking what the hell am I saying? Do I even know what I’m trying to say? If you have never had this experience, you are one of the lucky ones (either that, or you are egotistical or deluded, I am not sure which is worse) I think 50% is a pretty average amount of meaninglessness. I will own up to it. It’s not that I’m not trying to do better. It’s just that sometimes communication is damn hard!!

Berserker's avatar

Ever catch yourself talking and talking and trying to explain something and thinking what the hell am I saying?

Yeah. Communication is hard. Sometimes something makes so much sense in my head, you’d think it would be so easy to explain, but then I just can’t do it, and end up saying stuff that seems so nonsensical. I wonder, in this case, if it’s still meaningless or not.

Earthgirl's avatar

Symbeline Maybe because the things most worth saying are the hardest to communicate….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuNzfhFG8iQ

wundayatta's avatar

@Symbeline how do I know that I understand what you’re saying? How is it confirmed? Good question. Why don’t you ask it?

blueiiznh's avatar

Yes, the rest is just radio-gaga

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