To communicate with one another we must use language. Language is made up of words; verbs, nouns, adjectives and so on, which make up sentences. Words are made up of letters which in turn form an alphabet. Each individual word has meaning, and when someone pronounces a word we assume we know what the other person is talking about.
Before reading any further, I would like to ask you to think about a certain word, which is well used and very simple, but can have a multitude of meaning. The word I would like to bring to your attention is WORLD. When you read this word WORLD, what does it bring to mind? What picture does it paint for you personally? WORLD.
If you have never thought about this before take a second and really think about what associations you have with the word.
What will follow is an extract of what George Gurdjieff has to say on this subject. If you are a regular reader you will have read something before about this man. Here, he is simply telling someone how many different interpretations there can be of one word, let alone a sentence:
“Let us take some other word, for example, the term ‘world’. Each man understands it in his own way, and each man in an entirely different way. Everyone when he hears or pronounces the word ‘world’ has associations entirely foreign and incomprehensible to another. Every ‘conception of the world,’ every habitual form of thinking, carries with it its own associations, its own ideas.
In a man with a religious conception of the world, a Christian, the word ‘world’ will call up a whole series of religious ideas, will necessarily become connected with the idea of God, with the idea of the creation of the world or the end of the world, or of the ‘sinful’ world and so on.
For a follower of the Vedantic philosophy the world before anything will be illusion, ‘Maya.’
A theosophist will think of the different ‘planes,’ the physical, the astral, the mental, and so on.
A spiritualist will think of the world ‘beyond,’ the world of spirits.
A physicist will look upon the world from the point of view of the structure of matter; it will be a world of molecules or atoms, or electrons.
For the astronomer the world will be of stars and nebulae.
And so on and so on. The phenomenal and the noumenal world, the world of the fourth and other dimensions, the world of good and the world of evil, the material world and the immaterial world, the proportion of power in the different nations of the world, can man be ‘saved in the world,’ and so on, and so on.”