Understand by opposite

July 20, 2017

Many supposedly hard to understand concepts are just poorly defined words. Literally, people not knowing what they’re talking about. One way to clarify a concept is to define it in terms of its opposite.

Ryan Holiday wanted to write a book about humility, but it wasn’t working. So, he wrote a book about ego.

Krishnamurti, asking “what is happiness?”, answers by enquiring to understand suffering.

Humility is the absence of ego; if you want to be humble, understand your ego.

Happiness is the absence of suffering; if you want to be happy, understand why you suffer.

Honesty is the absence of deceit; if you want to be honest, understand why you deceive.

Love is acceptance, the absence of rejection; if you want to accept, understand why you are unwilling to feel, why you reject what is.

A word is an ordering of symbols that represents an idea. Part of the difficulty is not the symbols, but that they don’t point to a specific, concrete idea.

The mental trick is taking words with no clear, concrete meaning and defining them in relation to words with clear, concrete meaning. Like solving an algebra equation, we write the unknown in terms of the known.

When someone uses a word,x, with an imprecise idea of what they mean by it, they really mean “What other people think of when I say x.” This is George Orwell’s whole point about political language.

The more imprecise language someone uses, the more likely