Frustrating encounters with certain blog buds and commenters recently have brought Jung’s and Campbell’s role of symbology controlling the way we think into sharp focus for me. It seems that no matter how sublime, ethereal, abstract, profound, enlightening an insight may be, the conveyance of the exquisite point of light into this realm of push and shove demand for clean edged certainty, assured by dictionary and blueprints, condenses, compacts all possibility of expressing any thought from outside it into the sharpest relief with the pressure between the press plate and the paper leaving black ink letters in rows as its symbolic proxy. Only the finest poets can build such structures with just the right crack left in to allow enlightenment to shine in —— “that’s how the light get in”.
In conversation, body language does a lot to fractalize the edges of the spoken word to meld the context from which the thoughts arose if they are vivid enough, imbued with the speaker’s spirit, to suspend the hearer’s belief in his own set of definitions long enough to go along to the end. Body language, if the eyes are ignored, can reinforce the tendency of a partisan audience to personify positive and negative abstraction into concrete allies and foes with a certitude only the eyes betray. Some can even lie with their eyes, but only by believing their own lies.
We could light the world forever if we could tap, cross the internet, the energy frittered away in frustrated miscommunications due to the use of abstractions as absolutes such as stereotypes taken as complete descriptions of single entities on the part of the speaker, or when the listener cherry picks the dictionary definition of certain word to refute the entire contextual meaning expressed.
In the first instance the abstract characterization of stereotypes is wasted on those who think in the black and white absolutes of righteousness. If such a thinking process were to hear the term, Jim Bob Lunchpail, they would picture a laborer eating lunch on the jobsite watching the propaganda of the opposing party on TV and swallowing it all, hook line, sinker, sandwich and bullshit; a real living entity; whole herds of such entities; hell, there’s so many we gotta organize against ‘em! That may be what the speaker intended, if he wanted to rouse the Jim Bob’s on his side to go out and get the others in some fashion.
But, as likely as not, they meant to describe just such black and white, with us or against us, lack of curiosity as characterizing lazy thinking wherever, in whatever proportion of whomever, it occurs. This phenomenon is exemplified by such thinking being unable to recognize satire’s mockery of such concretized stereotypes to realize that Colbert Nation is not a right wing utopia, or that Sarah Silverman doesn’t necessarily have a 48” TV as described in her video a few posts back, or that Glen Beck and Bill O'Reily aren't really news reporters, but Bullmoose bullshit dispensers who authored best sellers because right wingnuts bought bulk to get their books on the list; they don't even care if they're read, just so the mindless interpret sales as representing authority.
Sometimes the reaction of such thinking becomes stretched beyond permissible limits such that it snaps back with, “Arguing what truth means is irrelevant. Look up trust in the dictionary. Problem solved." in a comment earlier. To which I answered, with this "this is this and that is that" refusal to understand the context in which a word is used as an indication of what is meant, there's probably very little poetic license with which you won't argue, because that's not how the dictionary dictates it to mean. Pretty sad. Problem perpetuated.
No one IS Jim Bob Lunchpail or his idol, Colonel Bullmoose but they seem like real people to the degree one fits the description themselves. You get the idea. Or not.