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Use essence rather than function

Part of my research work is how ontology (our language structures that define our relationship to the world) builds our collective self, and how these invisible architectures often maintain the collective entrapped in predictable social structures that self perpetuate via language. Same seed, same tree… same invisible architectures, same society. Language creates reality, reality creates language, as an endless mirror that keeps us trapped, unless we open up to the Divine evolutionary spark that shifts the whole thing to a whole new set of self-reflecting mirrors.

Many of the ontological structures that we use today carry archaic forms of consciousness (which include violence and domination), and for the most part they carry and duplicate the memes (units of culture) that perpetuate pyramidal collective intelligence (the form of CI that still prevails in our society).

One of these (many) old ontological structures can be seen in our habit to use substantive words that express a function, a social status or state, rather than essence. Examples:

  • the homeless rather than people without a home
  • a user in the software world, rather than a person (shall we say some day a person interface rather than a user interface?)
  • a prisoner rather than an imprisoned person
  • an Italian rather than an Italian person
  • etc

We use generic terms such as the French, the Africans, the geeks, the red necks, the blacks, the WASP, the gays, the Republicans, etc, as social, functional or ethnic classes that are named by social attributes.

In every single example above, the essence has been put aside to the point that we get to hide it completely from our consciousness. We are not talking about a person, a being, or a human being anymore, which express and acknowledge the subject as its own essence. Our attention is directed to (and diverted by) the function, rank or status given to the person by the society, as social attributes. It is a first step to dishumanizing ourselves, seeing the other as a utility, a function, an attribute that mixes with essence. By doing so we obliterate our innate capacity to acknowledge ourselves, celebrate life in general as sacred and unalienable.

Today I recommend we don’t much use the word user in the flowplace and in any other piece of software we create, but that we replace it with essence-based words, as a way of acknowledging the sacredness in every corner of our languaging of the world. Person is definitely one of these words.

For a long time I am trying to educate myself to use words and expressions that acknowledge our sacredness and true nature. As usual this is a long journey, a long inner education that has no social substrate to support it. It’s about creating a new culture from inward out.

Usual business 🙂


There are 2 comments on this post
  1. October 18, 2010, 11:56 pm

    There’s a similar distinction mentioned in the book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, by Marshall Rosenburg. There’s a poem about it on page 26 of the document posted here:

    Since NVC is practiced by folks in many parts of the world, perhaps they offer a little bit of “social substrate” for this shift in language. Some NVC projects are presented here:

  2. October 20, 2010, 12:19 pm

    Thank you very much Patrick. Yes I am familiar with NVC work, as I have trained many NVC practitioners these past years. I admire the methodology and the results. I see a deep work has been done on protocols and ways to manage language. I still see much more work is necessary in the deep ontological structure of conventional language, as they carry archaic forms of violence, even in the most casual language. That’s a whole topic I am working in my book.

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