What do you think of when you read the word “party?”
I think of birthdays. I think of pin-the-tail on the donkey. Pointy hats, laughing kids and cake…
But in our culture, most people associate “party” with plenty of alcohol, hooking up, or some other kind of adult activity.
I had a particular intent in mind when I wrote the word “party.” I had scenes of my grandchildren in my mind. I didn’t explain my intent, but it was built into the word. I wanted to convey MY meaning of the word “party” — not someone else’s interpretation of the word.
When I see a thug on TV who committed murder I say, “That’s really sick,” and in MY world, “sick” means “disgusting.” But to some people “sick” can also mean cool (cool is a word from my generation). In our culture today, “sick” often describes something positive.
Can you think of other words that have changed in meaning? How about: Bad. Dope. Gay. Chill. Snowflake…
Every communicator writes or speaks to convey his or her INTENT to their audience. But written and spoken words can be edited (manipulated), and meanings reinvented to fit an ad hominem narrative (a personally contrived characterization). It takes extreme patience, time and integrity to honestly convey another person’s intent, especially if we do not agree with their conclusions.
Perhaps we never could, but in this bitter political climate, we cannot depend on journalists, editors, educators or Internet sites to present the context (facts surrounding a situation) without their “spin.” In most cases, ideals outweigh their ethical contract to report facts and convey intent.
A masters degree does not an honest educator make. News anchors (who sincerely believe “it’s for the good of society”) deprive their stories of context and routinely manipulate the intent of those they interview.
We cannot afford to be too distracted to question the motives of news providers, authors, organizations, Internet sites and even our mentors. Words contain powerful meanings that lead us to Truth or to a twisted worldview.
Before absorbing what you hear, see, or read consider:
Where did this communicator receive their education and influence?
What are the moral convictions of this communicator?
What do they believe about God, creation and the Bible? (My own personal criteria)
What or who inspired their passionate words?
Who are/were their friends and mentors?
Who are/were their enemies?
In what social climate did the author write?
What organizations promote their viewpoint?
If deceased, what did they believe at the end of their lives?
A 1960s maxim has come back into vogue and should be applied when we gather information in the 21st Century: Question authority.