Lessons in discourse analysis

Discourse!  It’s everywhere right?  So how do you personally cope with the discourses that ensue when building it through language?

I’ve discussed the purpose of language in past blogs; language is symbolic and acts as a carrier for mediating understanding.  Understanding provides many things to include building a knowledge base.  Knowledge is a form of Gnosis, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll not end up corrupting yourself through it.  The task then, is to decide what language is building.

Language is saying, doing and being.

So start with some rudimentary questions:

What is the language saying?

What is the language doing?

What is the language being?

This may lead to other inquires such as:

1. What is its significance?

2. What is language practicing?

3. How do I identify the language?

4. What relationship do I have with language?

5. Is the language political?

6. What connections are being made?

7. What knowledge do I personally hold about the symbols?

Through this inquiry you begin building a foundation for your own understanding of language that builds discourse.

Each culture has its own conventions of language. Each language has a beginning, transitional period and a present tense.

In this particular discourse analysis, the primary question that seeks an answer is as follows:

How does a piece of language affect the way we hold knowledge, and the effects on our beliefs?

In creating discourse through language, we believe certain things to be truths.  These truths are more often than not, believed to be universal but from a subjective point of view.

There are many factors to consider here, such as social languages, intertextuality, and the conversation’s course as the dialogue with others progresses.

People build identifications through activities, not just language but you can’t know in all certainty what activities are running simultaneously while each person engages in the conversation.

Activities: Processing, thinking, feeling, and acting are just a few activities to consider.

I covered this a bit on my show Conformity & Polymorphism

Take for instance the word: CUT

How would a movie director understand the term cut?

A Barber?

A surgeon?

Obviously the context is relevant, and language in context carries a specific understanding.

An example of social language:  “Cut the shit!”

If you are unfamiliar with the phrase, then a literal interpretation may be understood, as if cutting crap is an activity that one engages in.  Perhaps if you were medical professional or vet, you just might but your average every day person isn’t in the habit of dissecting feces.  There is a sort of conformed understanding of what that phrase means, and it may very well be the conduit for laying down the foundation for discourse.

Other language could certainly be used for a similar sentiment but that’s reliant on the person’s being.  Not just how they are being (action) but the essence of what they are.

Another question which may arise through this analysis is, Are we our ideas?

If your particular being chooses the phrase ‘Cut the Shit!’ vs. ‘Please Stop’, does this mean that the person IS their ideas?  Perhaps it’s more appropriate to look at it this way:

Please stop = a polite person

Cut the shit! = a rude person

This sort of dual perception is rather common, especially in having conversations.  This has more to do with social ethics and responsibility, than it does individuality.  It’s as if there is a set expectation on every conversation you will ever have in your lifetime.

Another element to consider is the environment in which the conversations take place.

Some examples:

Work Place

Social Club

Home

Bar

Public Park

Day Care Center

Concert Venue

Doctor’s Office

These are just some examples of environments where conversations take place.  Perhaps you change your ideas as your environment changes.

1. You may hold the idea that any form of censorship is not something you will tolerate.

Perhaps you choose to self-censor your language in a Day Care Center because you feel that some language is inappropriate for children.  This stems from your own morality and ethics.

2. You may hold the idea that any foul language is a sign of immaturity.

Perhaps you stub your toe and out comes flying profanity to express how truly painful it is, and in the presence of your own children.

These two examples demonstrate that while you may hold ideas, ‘you’ as a being, are not your ideas.  You will find that your ideas change with circumstance, environment and experience.

The same is true when discourse is built by language.

1. You may observe a person reacting poorly to criticism; you speak very arrogantly with regard to the reactions to criticism.  You believe that a poor reaction is a sign of mental and emotional immaturity.

Perhaps YOU are being criticized and are reacting poorly, according to public opinion.  Your ideas then change, because you are now the subject of critique.

So you see, discourse ensues because you are an ever changing and adaptive being, and so too are other beings changing and adapting to the environment, as well as the language in use to say, do and be.

Learn the lesson.  That’s my advice.

Sin Jones

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The trouble with belief…

Belief is an employed as a truth-bearer; the trouble then, is when belief is a poor carrier of knowledge.  In order to ‘know’ a thing, there must be the element of justification.  Yeah, Yeah …I know… More Occult mind fuckery.  Bear with me, I do have a point.  

A mundane example for the layman: How can you ‘know’ what it means to be a cat?  You can certainly hold statements about cats to be true, thus this gives you the evidence required to believe statements about cats are true.  Odd isn’t it? You can never truly ‘know’ cats, unless you’ve been a cat.  Your beliefs however remain an invoked truth-bearer and equally a carrier of knowledge (or one would think).  You can tell me all day you ‘know’ cats, I call bullshit.

Say I send you across a rickety bridge.  You examine the bridge, you judge that it’s safe and you cross.  The bridge gives out, and you fall to the ground.  A short fall, nothing that kills you.  When asked:  Why did you cross that old rickety bridge, it didn’t look safe to me?  You might answer:  Well, I believed it could hold me, even if it didn’t look safe.  I had to prove to myself I was correct, and so I crossed.  The ‘justification’ for belief is provided when you cross.  Thus, the statement should have been I ‘thought’ it was safe, but I was wrong.  This ‘verification’ is provided when the bridge collapses.  More often than not, belief replaces rational judgment, belief will be invoked as a truth-bearer, even passed off as knowledge.  ”I believed it was safe…So, I crossed.”  What ‘knowledge’ did you really hold about the bridge?  How could you ‘know’ the bridge could hold you?  Where is the justification for such a belief that the bridge would hold you?  Easy, there’s none…Not until you cross the bridge and by that time, it doesn’t matter what you believe.  It falls, your beliefs are bullshit.

Still with me?

Beliefs are like personal affirmation.  Evidence can be anything really, even your own deluded perceptions and translations of experience.  That’s all you really need to prove it to yourself…Some sort of evidence, right? Proving it to others however; becomes problematic.  Let’s say I believe in fairies. Fantasy right?  Or is it?   I’ll go on and on about the faires I’ve seen, heard and experienced.  I am trying to convince you that I know fairies.  How believable would my story need to be to convince you that fairies are real, and you too can know them?  Do you also believe in fairies?

Juxtapose this with hard science, and how theory becomes scientific fact.  What is required for such empiric notions?  Verification.   Say I tell you I can fly like a fairy.  I can be brought into the conditions of scientific method, and if I don’t measure up?  The notion I can fly, will remain a personal belief, only justified by my subjective personal experience and testimony.  Only “I” would hold this ‘knowledge’ of fairies, thus it is only a for-barer of truth. This ‘knowledge’ cannot be transferred to others.  It will most likely be considered personal Gnosis, and acknowledged as something real, and that actually happened but only to me.  It may be classified as a belief I hold, rooted in some psychologically produced mental phenomena.  In other words, I’m not only delusional but hold illusions that I can actually fly.

And here we go!

What about mass-Gnosis?  A shit ton of ‘believers’ in one place, forcing this belief into the ether to infect others, how do those beliefs become accepted as knowledge?  All those believers have received justification and in some cases purport verification???   Yah seriously.  It happens.  It happens every day, and is happening right now as you read this.  The trouble with belief is that it’s a poor truth-bearer.  Personal truth is often valued the most-high by comparison to universal truths.  One could run themselves ragged considering what truth actually is.  The trouble lies in putting too much weight on personal truth, and expecting an entire society to accept it.  Yah, really…Some of us actually have minds of our own.  

Oh yeah… Remember this?

In the Middle Ages, the common belief was that women were prone to serving the devil; thereby becoming witches that sought to bewitch men for power and should be killed as heretics.  It wasn’t just the Noble class pointing fingers, it often occurred in villages, and mobs rose up to watch public executions as sport.  A mob of believers will even add a bit of embellishment to truth, even if it costs them their very souls.  It’s what they believed, right?   In the modern era it continues in lands we consider foreign, even alien to us, and it seems to be another man’s problems.  What about the remnants in our own cultures today?  Aren’t the ‘true believers’ still accepted as common?  It doesn’t matter if there’s a group belief in aliens, big foot, or angels…All the same to me.  Personal belief, a poor truth-bearer and carrier of knowledge.  Tell an entire society to accept Big Foot, see where that takes you. 

Belief as reality…As an Occultist I practice at it actively.  

There is certainly trouble with belief, and this is what creates alternate realities.  Alternate realities don’t become problematic, unless you’ve let reality run off with the mind.  It’s the old philosophical question:  How can I know I’m not just a brain in a jar?  I think, that self-awareness is extremely crucial, especially when determining when you are invoking beliefs as truth-bearers.  Subjective truth or universal truth?  One should always ask oneself: “How much trouble can my beliefs really cause me??”

Well, in an occult context, I’d say a shit ton.  I see it all the time; beliefs compel dabblers in the occult into the most ridiculous line of thinking and rationale.  Believe it or not, there are rational Occultists out there, they are not all whack – jobs and lunatics.  Even if they practice lunacy on the regular.   I happen to be one of them.   You are merely a voyeur into my world, I allow you to see what I want you to see, the rest…Is for the initiated.  

Shhh…There’s some nutters out there.   They prey on the naive and the ignorant. 

I get cursed by ‘black witches’ and ‘warlocks’, all day long, ummmm yeah…Still here.   Makes me laugh.  Noobs can believe until kingdom come, doesn’t make their beliefs my truth-bearer.  I hold no knowledge of the power they hold, none of it has been justified or verified.

Till next time…

Sin Jones

The Poison Apple