Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Correcting of Names

So here's something I found in the FP drafts, from a few weeks ago. What does it all mean? I hardly know.

"The Correcting of Names". A phrase from the Analects of Confucius, of course. “If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.” Smart old guy, Confucius -- or I should say, Kung Fu-tse.

I've referred to Moslems. Muslims. Since I'm not speaking Arabic, it's Moslem. Aliens do not tell me how to pronounce English words. Same with Peking -- Beijing may be how it's pronounced in Chinese. I really don't know. In English, it's Peking. If they'd asked nicely, maybe I'd change. But vile Communist oppressors do not control my diction. I've covered this before.

Burma/Myanmar; Rhodesia/Zimbabwe; Cambodia/Kampuchea. Seems like monstrous regimes are like rap singers, always changing names, in the hope that they'll somehow become honorable and respectable. So Michael Jackson, famous child-molester, has changed his name to Mikaeel, honoring his new moslem faith. His name is Mikaeel, he got a nikaeel. Moslems don't mind child molesting, per the Ayatollah Khomeini and his Little Green Book.

But we're hearing about Mumbai. Mumbai. In actuality, Bombay, if integrity has anything to do with it. Because the name was changed in 1995, as a mere nationalist, or rather, Hindu chauvinist ploy of the Shiv Sena party -- if I said it was rightwing, would you understand the point? Rightwing is not the same as conservative. The term is taken from the French Revolution, after all, and the left of that time was as vile a conclave of monsters as hell could assemble. It was countered on the right not by righteousness, but by a complementary evil. Thus, rightwing/leftwing meet in the center as the body of a flying carrion eater. But I digress.

Mumbai is the name of some Hindoo pagan goddess. What's old is new again. Sort of the same thing with Ceylon/Sri Lanka. Lanka is the island's name in Sinhala, and Sri means holy. In any case, it is not Tamil, who are not Buddhist, so the name is pretty much guaranteed to be deliberately offensive to that very large group of vested stakeholders. See? Names shouldn't be changed in such a way as to cause bloodshed.

Is it foolishness? Wrong question. Like asking, do we breathe air. Does it matter? Confucius says nothing is more important. If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant. By calling it Mumbai, they're saying that Bombay is an ugly holdover from colonial days, and they reject all such legacies. But there would be no unified India without colonial days. They must suppose this would be a good thing. The patron goddess Mumba apparently enjoys mankind in its most natural state, of open sewers and roadside starvation. The West, they are saying, has nothing for them. They'll walk, rather than ride in automobiles. They'll pray, rather than use antibiotics. And so on. That's what they're saying. And so we see their words do not follow actions. Their words, and their renamings, are lies.

All this is meaningless, symbols that evoke emotion without real cause behind it. Hardly any harm done, though, except for the actions that such emotions evoke in others. What is violence, after all, but emotion in action and reaction to other emotion? Or am I playing word games? Here's why rejecting the West and its institutions is a bad thing: hospitals -- mass agriculture and the subsequent abundance of food -- antibiotics. Pesticides ... a good thing. Assault rifles ... also a good thing, as both the terrorists and the forces of defensive virtue will agree.

There is hardly any purity. It's almost all pragmatics. The terrorists broadcast their screeds against the West using Western technology. They have no capacity to appreciate irony. To quote the Ayatollah Khomeini, "There is no joy in Islam", and no irony either. This is most obvious when we understand that they would call a nuclear bomb dropped on Jerusalem, "The Sword of Allah". Hmm.

Point is, they can never be polluted by the West. They pollute themselves. No rigors of diction can undo this fact. They can change words around like rappers changing their names in the hope that it will change the way they feel. There is a slight psychological truth to this of course. There is no physical truth. Word-concern, after all, is such an adolescent thing. After we outgrow that stage, we understand that they are only tools, and that symbols are never more important than reality. God is more holy than the altar. Allah, if he were real, and not a volcano god, would not want the blood sacrifice of innocent victims burned alive in terrorist bombings. Somehow, some people lose sight of these obvious, elementary, adolescent facts.

It's not terribly original of me to inveigh against foolishness. I have to suppose it's been done before. But in my ironic little twist, I'll admit to my own adolescent nature, and say that I'm in love with words, and symbols, and magic. From now on, I shall be called ... Jacobus Haitchmegalus, Master Grammarian of the Eternal Courts of the Empyrean. Either that, or Jakaeel.

But seriously, if language isn't correct, then what's said isn't what's meant, so directions aren't clear and things don't get done properly, in which case things like morality and the culture will degenerate, and there will be no justice, and everything will be chaos. We should be precise, because that's what justice is. The opposite of helpless confusion. Justice is the opposite of tyranny, and the opposite of terrorism. Words are just tools, that can lead us anywhere at all. Used wrongly, they lead to death.


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