General Question

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Can you separate the medium from the message?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30930points) June 8th, 2009

Linguistic asphyxia is not a plague. It points to clues why words are vague. Just bricks and mort, and I purport, that nothings built until we sort. Beneath that sort all things are planned. A wink… A nod… A popcorn stand!

Meaning equal to a word? Carve one out, it might be heard, for hearing is a thing absurd, I’ve talked with God and (it) preferred, to separate the meaning from, the words we choose to speak and drum, into the night, they thicken air, for what they hold is weighty fare.

Words are wraps, the camels hump, and meaning sits inside that lump, so pump and thump and jump and stump that grumpy chump who clumps their meaning and their word as sheep without a shepherd spurred the wolf to come and chew the fat and laugh at all from where he sat.

Are your words the same exact thing as the meaning behind them…? Or do you rightfully acknowledge that the word is only a representation of the meaning that came from your mind?

Should we look at a word to justify to our own interpretation, or shall we pursue the intentions of the one who has spoken them?

Can you separate the medium from the message?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

47 Answers

Ivan's avatar

Haven’t you done this enough?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

This is delicious, I taste clover honey rather than orange honey, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and toasted rather than raw walnuts.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


I always smile when I see your face. We are great friends whether you know it or not.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Save some for me you selfish God.

shadling21's avatar

I feel like I’m missing something.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Feelings are good! Proof that you live…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


My dog likes dried banana chips. Does yours?

SeventhSense's avatar

As for sitting in meditation, that is something which must include fits of ecstatic blissful laughter; brayings that will make you slump to the ground clutching your belly, and even after that passes and you struggle to your feet, will make you fall anew in further contortions of sidesplitting mirth.
– Hakuin

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

This may have something to do with why though an agnostic, I can have respect for the religious and enjoy ‘messages’ and baklava

DarkScribe's avatar

Did you notice your sanity slowly diminishing or did it it happen suddenly and without warning?

Your questions and responses seem to be very close to pure gibberish at times. Is this deliberate, are you inebriated, or are you over-tired?

jrpowell's avatar

Get a fucking blog.

whatthefluther's avatar

Words alone are not always sufficient to provide meaning. The context is often critical, as are the motives of the medium (i.e. sarcasm?). Words aside, how we understand the circumstances behind the words is itself subject to personal interpretation. Then taking those biases and applying those to the words, which even if used properly, are often unclear due to multiple meanings and usage nuances, results in further interpretation. As often happens, the resulting personal meaning may be very different from that intended. I’m amazed that we ever effectively communicate. And frankly, I have no idea if I have just done so, or not…wtf

dynamicduo's avatar

Why would I care to separate your meaning from your very convoluted message?

If you don’t want to communicate clearly, I don’t want to put forth effort to understand you.

mattbrowne's avatar

Are you familiar with

A Mathematical Theory of Communication by Claude E. Shannon?

wundayatta's avatar

If we didn’t have this problem, we wouldn’t be human. Humans are meaning-makers. Anything that makes meaning is human. [From “Humanity According to Daloon,” due in your local bookstore in 2012]

If you are trying to communicate (and who isn’t?), intentions are important as the symbols. It’s easier to focus on symbols, especially if you want to be a literalist, or if you have no knowledge about the symbol creator. Still intentions should enter into it. If you have a grudge against the person, one tactic for expressing that grudge is to focus purely on the symbols. In other words, you are not trying to understand. This is why it is so important, if you want to understand what a person is saying, to understand their history.

So, you can try to separate the medium from the message, but that doesn’t enhance understanding. It depends on what your goal is. If you want to communicate, you need to understand the medium. If you have another agenda, the message may be all you focus on.

Actually, I thought this problem had been answered a long time ago: the medium is the message.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Excellent perception about context…

“I” will run to the store?
I will “run” to the store?

Same words, different meanings.

@whatthefluther said:
“…the resulting personal meaning may be very different from that intended”

Unfortunately you are so correct in that assessment. The temptation for a receiver to be a transmitter is a human fallacy. The personal “meaning” is a personal truth. Personal truth is really a personal deception, by rejecting the objective that is right in front of our face. It’s too bad that transmitters can’t be transmitters, and receivers just be receivers.

Take heart in knowing that your intended message HAS been received.

Apparently more “convoluted” than I supposed. I don’t believe we can separate the “meaning” from the “message”… as they are one in the same. This question speaks of separating the “medium” (not meaning) from the message. May we do that?

Yes, I should think so. Shannon, like most demigods, is so often overlooked.

Concerned mostly with throughput, noise to signal ratios, and calculations that determine hash functions and checksum, he clearly noted the signal as a medium that carried a separate message, and distinguished the two with transmission. Thus making it possible for us to communicate in the manner we currently enjoy.

I think Weaver was the one mostly concerned with Information Sources.

By George I think we have found resolve! Imagine that, you and I agreeing… Who said there are no more miracles?

BTW… a recent question was posed about the “tree in the woods”. Though I disagreed with you about that last month, this recent question gave me much to ponder about your position on that matter. Basically noting that vibrations are not sound until they land upon an eardrum… Why didn’t you just say so?... ;)

filmfann's avatar

Words are not the only part of communication. So is emphasis.
Have you heard this before?:

I didn’t say she stole the money.

Depending on what word you emphasize, the meaning of the sentence changes.

I didn’t say she stole the money.
Someone else said it.

I DIDN’T say she stole the money.
Your entire premise is wrong.

I didn’t SAY she stole the money.
I wrote it down. Maybe I just pointed.

I didn’t say SHE stole the money.
He did it!

I didn’t say she STOLE the money.
She borrowed it.

I didn’t say she stole THE money.
She stole other money.

I didn’t say she stole the MONEY.
It was the jewelry!

And Lurve to Jon Carroll, of the SF Chronicle for writing this years ago.

Blondesjon's avatar

The question isn’t Can We?.

The question is Why Should We?.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


For by our words much blood is shed. All too often we judge the medium first, and never hear the intended message because of our prejudice. We jump to conclusions much too quickly when we could just ask “What do you mean by that”?

Pride and ego lead us to believe that we somehow know things beyond what has been said. Humans have a hearing problem in that we don’t always listen very well. Your thoughts have a hard time making it past my preconceived notions about how the world works.

All that bad enough on a regional level, but take that premise international and find an explanation for why our children are being sent to a land they have never been, to kill people they have never met, for a cause they don’t truly understand. I wonder what would happen if we all just sat down and listened to one another? I wonder what would happen if we could look past the medium of the words, and look into the real essence of meaning behind them? A century of repression cannot be expressed so easily to a society that talks too much and worships the fast food drive up window. Don’t bother me with your pain… can’t you see I’m trying to watch American Idol?!?!?!?

But that’s just the surface of the problem of not being able to separate the medium from the message.

The deeper and more elusive issue points to exposing evil itself. Yes, evil is manifest when people cannot separate the medium from the message.

That dollar bill in your pocket is a note, a medium, a code. It has no intrinsic value to itself. If you believe it does, then deception has consumed you. That dollar bill is worthless beyond it’s ability to represent a specific quantity of gold that sits elsewhere in a reserve. The dollar is the medium which expresses the message of worth in gold reserve. Our current economic tragedy is rooted in believing that a dollar is actually worth something itself. That is a lie.

Truth is butchered at the expense of convenience. Walk into a copy shop and ask for a Xerox. You have just butchered truth because Xerox is not equal to a copy. You couldn’t ask for a Canon, or a Ricoh, or a Kyocera…

Hand me a Kleenex please… But Kleenex is not equal in essence to Tissue. Kleenex is a type of Tissue, and I don’t care if my snot sits in a Kleenex or a Puffs or a bargain basement store brand.

Can you remember when AOL wanted everyone to believe that they WERE the internet, rather than one of many gateways into it? Deception!

One of the worst offenders is Apple with its iPod. I took a university pod cast philosophy course last year. After the first class the instructor told everyone that they could download the lesson as an MP3 pod cast. The biggest questions the students had was “Do I need an iPod”? And the instructor did not know the answer.

Apple has been very effective in convincing the public that an iPod IS entertainment and knowledge… rather than one of many gateways into entertainment and knowledge. No, we don’t need an iPod… any MP3 player will do just fine. To think otherwise is to be deceived.

There are many people out there who believe that Obama IS the answer… rather than a man who represents the answers. If Martin Luther King WAS the answer, then killing him would have stopped the Civil Rights movement. People die over this shit because someone thought he WAS the answer, or that he WAS the problem. Thankfully he only represented the issue, allowing the real answers to the real problems to be addressed effectively without him.

The medium is not the message. Never… Never ever.

Blondesjon's avatar

People will believe what they want to believe regardless of what series of grunts and clicks you present them with.

The only version of the Truth that holds any merit to you is your version of the Truth.

You may borrow little bits, here and there, of other people’s Truth and incorporate it as your own but it still only works for you.

To try to push toward a UNIVERSAL TRUTH is to try and destroy individualism.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Not at all. I encourage the individual. Freedom to express oneself is the ONLY way for a society to flourish and advance.

By this notion the child molester is not allowed to pursue HIS personal Truth. Neither shall we embrace the likes of Koresh, Applewhite and Jones.

Opinions are good, and every artist and scholar may express themselves in any manner they choose. But those opinions should be looked at as separate rooms under the custody of the house of absolute Truth. Lets visit one another in our rooms of opinion and rejoice in our diversity. We have much life to share with one another.

But when a room of Opinion is mistaken as being a house of Truth, then it cannot withstand the slightest storm of inspection put upon it. It does not benefit from a strong foundation that only a house of Truth can provide. It does not benefit from the supporting structures of other opinions. It will quickly collapse when looked at very closely. We have a name for this… it’s called Bullshit.

Blondesjon's avatar

I think you forget what a strong foundation Zealotry provides Bullshit.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


What do you mean by that? Please explain.

Blondesjon's avatar

I can’t explain. It simply is. It needs none of my gutteral utterings to give it meaning.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


If it can’t be explained, and it does not need you to give meaning to it, how may I ever understand?

Blondesjon's avatar

If you can only gain understanding through explanation than you have not yet travelled far enough on your journey. I wish you luck.

filmfann's avatar

@Blondesjon You mean Then not Than. Maybe your journey should take you to remedial school.

Blondesjon's avatar

@filmfann . . .Perhaps your journey brought you here to correct me. All thanks be to the GREAT UNKNOWN.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


You may be correct. But I’m asking you about your journey, not mine. What can you explain to me about your journey? Surely your journey is more than nothing.

Blondesjon's avatar

My journey is a work in progress that I seldom understand let alone possess the faculties to explain.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


If you don’t understand, and can’t explain, then how do you claim that it is something… “a work in progress”?

Blondesjon's avatar

It had a beginning and it will surely end. Everything in between is simply progression.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Can you point to the beginning? How are you confident it will end? How can one be sure of progression?

Blondesjon's avatar

I can only assume those points based on the fact that my reality is not static.

filmfann's avatar

Your reality doesn’t cling when it comes out of the dryer?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Are all assumptions to be trusted? Can we really call progression to the end progress? Is anyone else’s reality static?

Blondesjon's avatar

@filmfann . . .I use Existential Bounce.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies. . .I can only speak for myself as to the stasis of my reality. As for the rest, I’m speaking to you right now.

filmfann's avatar

@Blondesjon Lurve for Existential Bounce.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Right now? Heh… One thing I’ve found on my journey friend, is that…

now here is nowhere

Blondesjon's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies . . .I’ve found that Clever is another foundation of Bullshit.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Simple etymology friend… if you believe in that sort of thing. Nothing clever about it. It’s the same as saying “no thing” = “nothing”.

Where is this Now you speak of? I swim in the current, enjoy the gift of the present, and move with the momentum of every moment.

But the now? Now is death.

Blondesjon's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies . . .Semantics are not a part of my reality.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


You’ve listed things as not being a part of your reality, or as unexplainable. But that it “is”.

How can is come from not and un?

Blondesjon's avatar

How can bhjdfh come from ewr and ujerwiot?

You restrict yourself with language my friend.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Precisely the point of this discussion prompt.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther