Left Undefined

def·I·ni·tion [def-uh-nish-uhn] noun

1. the act of making definite, distinct, or clear; a defining.

2. the formal statement of the meaning or significance of a word, phrase, idiom, etc., as found in dictionaries. An online dictionary resource can give users direct, immediate access to the definition of a term.

3. the condition of being definite, distinct, or clearly outlined.

Definitions establish the meanings of words. If we didn’t have them, it would be difficult to come to terms with one another when we seek to communicate. Imagine we didn’t have specific definitions for up and down, how then would we be able to give or understand directions? A big part of the issues we have to deal with is that many don’t care much to find out how the words they use have been defined, what they actually mean. Unavoidably leading to diverse misunderstandings that can cause disparate arbitrariness, bias, chaos, discrimination, exclusion, fear, hurt, intolerance, jeopardy, omission, prejudice… and wars.

Only when we agree on a definition is when we can proceed to discuss the thing so defined. Who hasn’t witnessed hopeless, useless debates occurring between persons endlessly arguing about issues that should have begun with a definition they agreed with? How could an insightful resolution take place if both sides are building upon a different idea of what they are talking about? An open ended one? I guess; if they are considering ending in a completely different side of the issue at hand. Agreeing to disagree? Absolutely; as not agreeing on the definition before undertaking argumentation wouldn’t end up anywhere else but on a disagreement. Holding on to different definitions = standing on moving ground

Yet, it bothers me to see the word “fin” inside the word deFINition. Of course it’s there! Assigning a definition to something (an object, a person, a concept… ) limits that “something” to that definition, seeking to END its taking of other meanings. Yes, definitions restrict our experiences of “things” as we will look to see each defined “thing” as it fits its given definition. That’s why many times resisting a definition is what feels right. That’s why sometimes we want “things” to be left undefined.

Oh, yes we do. Because at times “something” is many “things”. Often times definitions become challenged. My pencil is my most effective hair holder and most practical bookmark. When I find what are called shoe boxes, I see papermaking molds. My father’s hands (filled with lines, textures and stories) were my favorite book. “Definir es cenizar”.

Perhaps what we can agree on is to reword the word definition into something related to the process of change. A word that didn’t have to do with limiting, with rigidness… with end. How about if instead of definitions dictionaries had becomings?

“I wouldn’t define myself period.

Oscar Wilde said that to define is to limit and I don’t want to limit myself.

I want to move as widely as I can.

I want my scope to be as wide as possible and definitions bind reality.

I don’t want to live in an imprisoned reality.”

José Kozer

What do you think?

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