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Words and Concepts

Tuesday August 31 2004 10:35 IST

By Karmayogi

We often use words like judgement, prejudice, opinion. We use them correctly. They may not be very precise in the context, serving as an appropriate word, but our usage is always correct. There is a distance between being correct and being perfect. We may know a range of words such as anger, rage, fury, incensed, annoyance, irritation, embarrassment, discomfort, displeasure, but we may not take the trouble to use the appropriate word. We may use anger in all places. It is not taking enough linguistic effort in a speech delivered or a conversation. Even when we know correctly, sometimes we may not know precisely. Opinion, prejudice, judgement are all commonplace words. Trying to draw the distinction between them, suddenly we are face to face with a revelation that we know them as words and not as concepts. A conceptual knowledge is called for to know the right difference between these words.

In teaching a wide vocabulary to the students, the teacher takes effort to explain each word and draw the distinctions, but she may feel that it is for the student to acquire this higher refinement on his own. These words can be taught with conceptual clarity at school with sure success, when the teacher is conceptually clear and takes all the teaching efforts in class to communicate it to the students. In that sense, what is opinion? Let us try to define opinion to ourselves without resorting to the aid of the dictionary. Opinion is a personal understanding. It is an understanding arrived at in the context of what one already knows. Can we distinguish it from understanding? At this stage, judgement will very much look like opinion, while prejudice may not present that problem. My judgement is my RATIONAL opinion.

Almost every word in the language has a defined concept behind it. That definition is precise and full. Personally, we may constantly use some fifty concepts. To know the exact meaning behind these words will enhance our mental comprehension. That will help us to invoke the Spirit. Mental clarity is an asset in the invocation of Spirit. The rule extends to vital concepts, physical concepts and all CONCEPTS in general. Language is spoken orally for communication. We use these words. Concepts are formed by clarity of mental comprehension. They create the words for people to use. The highest concept Man has so far formed is that of Sachchidananda. It is a concept of Brahman.
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