posted on Mon, Nov 20 '23 under tag: freedom

Open this, open that, open everything. Is anything ever open?

Note: This post wasn’t published till 3rd February, 2024 because I lost interest in it. It eventually got published (at the older date) because I didn’t want to just discard them. But it hasn’t been updated or completed.

Let me open this post by saying that “open” is a four letter word which has at least 45 definitions on TheFreeDictionary”. Which means there’s a lot of room for miscommunication when you use that word to describe a thing. Take this imaginary conversation for example:

A: “Hey, when you go to P, can you check if the door is open?”
B: “Sure”
[B goes to P and comes back]
B: “Hi A, the door is not open”
A: “Oh, thanks!”
[A goes to P later and returns angrily to B]
A: “You said the door is locked. But it wasn’t!”
B: “I meant the door is closed, not that it is locked!”

One of the lessons in How to Talk with People by Irving J. Lee is this:

Misunderstanding results when one man assumes that another uses words just as he does. People are so eager to reply that they rarely do enough inquiring. They believe so surely (and wrongly) that words have meaning in themselves that they hardly ever wonder what the speaker means when he uses them.

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