Language and Linguistics



Definitive language reinforces definitive theory and practice in ever more intractable cycles. Hence whenever language is regarded as more than an aid to communicating our meanings and experiences, and acquires some kind of life of its own as our sole means of expression, it is a trap. We become entangled in a web of misunderstandings and arguments over exact meanings, where we desperately seek uniformity of usage to avoid ambiguity. But such uniformity runs counter to the rich variety and evolutionary possibility of life. We can gain such uniformity only through not being able to express our appreciation of what living really means in all its dynamic depth and complexity. By restricting our communications to what can be articulated explicitly, we leave aside, out of sight and out of mind, the enormity of implicit experience.


Through natural inclusional awareness it may not only be possible to recognise this language trap but also to find ways of avoiding it. Firstly, we can use language and metaphors that tend to sustain fluid possibility and don’t reinforce concepts of definitive closure. Secondly, through appreciating how the meaning of words is influenced, sometimes radically, by the context in which they are being used, we can make clear when that the context is natural. The meaning of ‘information’, for example, is definitive when used in a rationalistic context, but dynamic relational in a natural context.