Ambiguity and Conviction

Words. They aren’t just letters strung together. They have meaning and influence. They can bolster and encourage. They can be used to break a spirit. When I initially  consider the nature of words, I think of a solid rock. But that isn’t an accurate picture, is it? Words are malleable and influenced by culture and translation. They change as individuals use them in unique and new ways.

Consider the word believe. To the person who has a strong conviction, believe can be a tangerine orange. Someone else with new belief can see it red-orange. Another person with wavering or tainted intentions may color the word with a toned down yellow-orange. All are variations on a base color. All bring their own tint and intensity to believe. Who knows, maybe another person sees it as purple, a whole other color altogether.

Each person has a paintbrush and their own set of paints. They could be painting with water colors or oils, deep rich jewel tones or shades of gray. They each color the meaning, implications, and feelings associated with the word. Experience and expectation weigh heavily on the intake of a word’s meaning. They are influenced by and are equal influencers of culture. Words cross cultures, countries, time, and languages and are changed and influenced by how they are picked up by others. Some words fall out of use and are lost in time. It is amazing how words can be both ambiguous and flexible yet hold conviction, depending individual perception and how they are connected to other words. Language truly is fascinating.

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