The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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OGDEN AND RICHARDS                          51
Some apes had more sense than some human animals now exhibit on occasion. The ape man listened before he began to stomp and yell as a signal for defensive action by his group. Listening was part of his equipment for survival. We stomp and yell, but don't always know why. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten how to listen and listening is part of our defensive and offensive and collaborative equipment.
Like our historical ancestor, we should "listen" with all of our resources. We should look, and see, and hear, and feel, and perceive in every possible human way. In the accomplishment of a purpose by means of words, it is necessary to note and to profit by the information we receive by looking and by listening. Our words have consequences, and, in the accomplishment of purpose, we must be concerned with those consequences. Do our listeners understand? Are they interested? Only by paying attention to the results of our own words can we use corrective measures by which to move forward efficiently toward a goal.
The "triangle" of meaning reminds us that words alone mouths aloneare not enough.
The use of words must involve a willingness to receive, for, without reception of responsive signs from others, we have no way of knowing where we arein respect to a goal.
When we speak without listeningwithout perceivingour words are returned to us as an echo. For others will tune us out.
17. The "thinker" who is insulated from the world
Ogden and Richards are equally disdainful of those who keep meanings locked inside their heads. Asylums are full