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The Twisted Meaning of Words

Café-Salon Philosophique #67

September 9, 2000

No. of Participants: 10

Topic for Discussion: "The Twisted Meaning of Words"

Samuel welcomed one and all to our Café-Salon gathering. We began with these questions, "Is there a gap between generations? Do we say what we mean? What part does the media play in how we do things in the world?"

We then turned to talking about how our Society twists the use of the English language to communicate. Samuel commented, that "often times words are sounded before there is any real realization or awareness of what one is saying." The emphasis on the spoken and written words, has made us forget the use of nonverbal communication.

Did you know that, "ninety percent of the message one receives is through body language, or nonverbal communication? Only 10% of the message is received, via words."

"This means that 90% of what you communicate is derived from what you do rather than what you say, such as with gestures, use of the hands, facial expressions, eye contact, etc...."(From the 4-Page BodySpeak™ Brochure)

We then bounced to discussing how Society worships mediocrity. The general population is satisfied with anything the media or entertainment industry feeds them. We allow our senses to become distorted and bombarded through visual and sound effects.

We are satisfied with guitar scratchers as musicians, white faces as mimes, house painters as Picassos, and menu writers as poets. Why are we satisfied with such mediocrity?

Pretense and superficiality seem to permeate every aspect of our lives and being. This happens in relationships, marriages, with kids, at work, etc. We are so tuned in to intellectual technology and left brain logic, that our creative thinking slips into unawareness.

Why do we choose this monotone, automaton way of being? Because we like things to be the same. We don't want to change. The familiar and comfortable are easier than the unknown.

We then discussed how words can misdirect and lead us to alot of unfounded conclusions and assumptions. We don't know how to be honest with our selves. We seek approval from outside authorities.

Eric said that we use language to "bait, debate and use as a weapon against other people.We learn to live by what we see and hear from printed images, visual effects and twisted media," he continued.

So, why do we talk rather than be? Why do we not listen with our bodies?

They say the root of being is silence. To know one's self takes time to be in the silence in order to reveal the truth. "Life is one big illusion, but we let the mind trick us into staying in the illusion," says Eric.

"Nothing has meaning unless you give it meaning," says Stephanie. "The problem in Society is, we talk without thinking about what we are saying," says Samuel. "You know, before the word there was movement, before movement was silence," he added. "Words can be deceiving.""Words can show the undesirable side of our selves."

"What influences us to "slang" our way of speaking?" We resort to short sentences and phrases. We use clichés such as "trust me," "recent polls indicate," "you have a nice personality," "you should," and "I've got to get this off of my chest, etc., etc."

Why is life taken so seriously? Where is the humor in life? Why can we not laugh things out of existence? Why do we succumb to such cultural craziness?

Because, we take our selves too seriously. We are easily influenced by "the other." We become like sheep and follow the crowd, unable to make decisions on our own. We don't stop and think about what we do. Everything we do is practically mechanical. Why is it that we don't stop to consider how we are affecting the world around us, rather than what we do in our own little world?

The group continued along the same lines by asking, "Why are we easily sucked into whims and moods? What tempers our being?

So our conclusion for the evening was, of course we talk too much and do too little. It seems we are all great actors in living.

Samuel then asked everyone to share what they had learned for the evening.

Stephanie enjoyed being able to "express her self adequately." She was glad that she was able to "speak how she feels." Maureen thought it was a "fun discussion."

Eric and Janet had no comment.

Jeanine believes "words are necessary for communication." Words are one form of communication and the body is another. It is important to her that "the message sent is the same message received." She likes when the message is received accurately.

James says, "words can't say what the body can." But, he added, "communication happens greater when there is a shift from the ego to being." And Floyd concluded with, "there is functional communication and abstract." (verbal and nonverbal communication) Why do we us the verbal more than noverbal? Who knows?

Our next Café-Salon gathering will be held September 23, 2000 at the Boulder Book Store located at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado. Start time is 6:30 p.m.

Invite your friends. Bring an interesting topic.



"We live in a new sophisticated and perplexed Babylon -- An entangled web where the great danger lies in the inability to communicate simply. Complicated terminologies present great obstacles to communication. The words are not meaningful enough to convey the ideas in simple terms. It seems we are obsessed with useless complexities."


"There is a wise and practical proverb my grandfather once told me. It says that: "Every word should pass through three gates" before being uttered. At the first gate the gatekeeper asks, "Is it true?" At the second he asked, "Is it necessary?" At the third he asks, "Is it kind?" If you answer in the positive, then by all means, open your mouth and speak."


"Words are not thoughts, they are only one of the means and tools to express thoughts verbally. Do see the distinction when words are described as thoughts."

"Most of our ways of communication and expression of thoughts are done with our bodies, with our movements."

Reported by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.