Posts Tagged ‘meaning’

I am interested in learning as a process of knowledge acquisition. The first requirement for learning is a place for knowledge storing and the ability to transfer this knowledge. Information storage is called memory. Memory for most of us means  storage room for information. Memory is associated with brain, computer memory, hard drive, flash cards, memory stick… I also remember old-fashioned books and another written material. However, the oldest, the most efficient, the most widespread method of information storing is the DNA molecule.

The DNA molecule contains genes that have more information about humans than a human can learn in his life. Those molecules can effectively transfer information. Moreover they can learn. They change, storing information corresponding to the changing environment.

There is a common opinion among DNA that life is only the equipment for their existence.

It would be nice if everyone spoke the same language and every word had the same meaning. No need in translation, no misunderstandings occur… And people attempted to invent world languages for example Esperanto. However that didn’t work, maybe because of a motivation problem. Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Everybody wants to learn English. Soon Utopia would come to the world and everyone could understand everyone else.

Remember that Galactive is the only official language in the Galaxy

That doesn’t happen. And I don’t talk about accents. We of course, can understand each other in shops and in other similar simple situations. But its far more problematic to understand people, not of your own group, when  they speak of their interests. Each group has its own jargon, its own vocabulary.


Where does the trouble come from? Obviously there are special terms for specific needs. Every science and every trade has its own terminology. Doctors need names for our health problems and businessmen need them for our business problems. But if only it were just terms…  There are other reasons for jargon use. For example, it is a way to hide information from outsiders (prison slang) or to identify group affiliations ( to protect discussions from amateurs in the German school of philosophy). And last but not least, jargon could be used to hide the emptiness of the speaker’s (writer’s) thoughts.

Plain Galactive is the opposite to Gobbledygook

Albert Einstein said about explanations – “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” In my opinion, it’s desirable to use this principle more often.

P.S. Oops. I forgot about poetry.

The complexity of the words used in high poetry plays a tremendous role in the perception of weak connections in the universe

Analyzing why I disagreed with my opponents during conversations, I realized that ,seldom, it was different interests; more often it was different meanings of words. Imagine dialog between two people. One speaks and understands only English and another  German. What kind of decision would they make? For good communication  we need the same words and accuracy in using those words. We don’t need to look for the right definition of words, but for mutual definitions which would help us to communicate.

When we learn foreign  languages we try to understand the meaning of the words with the help of the dictionary:

Definition of KNOWLEDGE from Merriam-Webster Dictionary (without obsolete and archaic)

1 a (1) : the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2) :acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique (1) : the fact or condition of being aware of something (2): the range of one’s information or understanding <answered to the best of my knowledge>c : the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning : cognition d : the fact or condition of having information or of being learned <a person of unusual knowledge>

2 a : the sum of what is known : the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by human kind b archaic : a branch of learning

We also understand a word’s meaning with the help of authority (teacher) : Plato defines knowledge as “justified true belief.” And Bertrand Russell as “belief which is in agreement with the facts”.

Lastly, the best way to understand the meaning of a word is through experience, a child’s way to learn language. That is why a good dictionary applies this technique and puts an example of the word’s usage.

  Our experience  could change because reality changes. We need new words to describe new  experiences. Sometimes decisions come with widening or changing words meaning. Words change. After this change happens dictionaries will be corrected, authority will give us new definitions and our experience will be relevant. However during the process we experience some confusion for which only mutual relevant experience could help.

People don’t copy information. They construct new information.

While I teach my students new things, they construct knowledge in different way. Maybe because the base of construction (their preliminary knowledge) is different.

One incident convinced  me in the correctness of this statement. One day after I finished teaching one year course, I was surprised by  my students, who presented me with a small book of my sayings. Believe me, I didn’t say this.

Not only misunderstandings lead to changing information. Connections that we make between new and old information also create new information. “Connection creates meaning”( Defining Connectivism, G.Siemens). We have reasons to make more connections for our learning.( See my post Web creation). But the question is what type of connection is more beneficial. Let me illustrate by the next pictures.

The left picture demonstrates chaos, the connection of everything to everything. The right picture brings more meaning because it organizes information. When we organize information, we create new information.