Blog entry by Alan Chapman

by Alan Chapman - Monday, 10 May 2021, 5:24 AM
Anyone in the world

What do I mean?

"What do I mean?"

What do you imagine might be the purpose of this question?

Firstly, "What do I mean?" shows the confusing nature of word language.

Consider that English has for many generations been used around the world to communicate and enable understanding between billions of people.

Everything from a discussion between two lovers, or between parent and child, or teacher and student; to the education of billions via science and history and arts and every other subject and perspective of life and beyond.

And yet language is confusing, as a foundational basis of understanding between people.

"What do I mean?"

What does this mean to you?

Does the 'this' in the question above refer to the question above, or the question above that?

And does 'above' mean the next above or another question above.

And does 'above' mean higher in position on the page, or higher in importance, as in the expression, 'above everything' or 'above all else' ? 

You might say that the answers to all these questions are 'obvious', and that an 'obvious' interpretation is the basis of language being regarded as how we can best understand each other, and anything.

But obvious to whom?

If I say to you, "See you next Tuesday," and Tuesday is tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, does "See you next Tuesday," refer to tomorrow or the next day (after tomorrow) or to Tuesday next week?

Or in a particular context does "See you next Tuesday," mean a slang word that if I write it here it will be deemed so offensive that my writing it here will reduce the chances of people reading and engaging with this article? 

"What do I mean?"

Secondly, "What do I mean?" opens someone's thinking and feelings about their meaning in life. 

The 'I' can refer to me as the writer, and also to you the reader, especially if you say the phrase aloud to yourself.

Then the 'I' can refer to you not to me.

You have perhaps heard of 'the royal "we"' '.

This is when a queen or other member of the royalty uses the word 'we' instead of 'I'.

I wonder what is the purpose of this strange use of the word 'we'.

We could all question language and meanings more.

We could all question our own meaning and purpose in life, a lot more than we do. 

Especially those of us too busy to think about our meaning and purpose in life, which is basically all of us.

Very few people imagine they have the time to think and feel about questions like this.

What if everyone thought for a minute every day, "What do I mean?"

What is your meaning and purpose?

"What do I mean?"


[ Modified: Monday, 10 May 2021, 7:39 AM ]