Language always constrains

Grabbing at terminology is a very human trait in communication. It is the ultimate tool in our toolbox. It is so ultimate that we come to believe that the world is how we attribute it through language. We forget that it is a tool. So like the proverbial carpenter for whom every problem is a nail to be hammered, we believe that every aspect of our life can be described by the language tools we have. The essential problem with terminology (naming things) is that language is always ‘talking about’ or ‘knowing about’, even when that we are trying to communicate about how we are (being). But what else can we bring to the communication table? Educational methods that make a distinction between ‘change’ and ‘transformation’ are not doing so because there is some fundamental truth in the distinction but, that, as a tool to draw attention to the possible difference in being it can then be spoken about. This is at the heart of ’empty and meaningless’. We can realise that existence (being) does not come with terminology, it just is. We can realise that our language both amplifies our access to our life, our past, our current and our future (a story about how we were being in some smaller or larger way) while unwittingly constraining our view of everything. It seems to me near impossible to tell the whole story about being around any circumstance, especially as that we seem to have so little access to ‘knowing’ all that ‘is’ about any circumstance. We can realise that the particular story and language forms we use both reflect and reinforce how we are being in the world, so deliberately choosing language tools for specific effects, will have the effect that we desire, will move our way of being in the world. The word we might best use for this phenomenon of movement is transformation. Transformation is, technically, a sub-category of ‘change’. However there is a popular word ‘change’ that has a different and lesser meaning than transformation, and so it becomes educationally pragmatic to make a distinction. Change is often attributed to the technical process: change a shirt, a tyre, an accountant, a church etc. This change will always show up when there is a transformation and may be the indicator that transformation has occurred. Transformation however occurs of relationship we have with ourselves, others, and the world. In that way, it occurs of our being. Being a human also seem to be best expressed in language (i.e. how we know it is human being) that has been called: spiritual, or virtuous, or, in Landmark ‘distinctions’ or in psychology ‘generative language’. So we could say, that transformation has occurred because we now ARE love, caring, contribution, service, leadership, creative, generous, grateful, honest, trustworthy, captivated, touched, empathetic, just and fair, … in relation to some circumstance, of which we previously was not. Have we changed? Most certainly. Have our behaviours changed? Most certainly. Have our outcomes changed? most certainly. However, we might always keep a little eye on that we are doing this all in language and language always constrains.

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