There has been quite a stir over last week’s revelation that Spokane, Washington NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal had lied about her race. Yesterday, Dolezal resigned from her post. Check out her Today Show interview this morning with Matt Lauer.
What you see in this interview is a reductio ad absurdum of social constructionism—the view that human beings actually construct reality via language.
As I watched the interview, noting the ways that Dolezal has decided to revise the meanings of various terms for her own purposes, I wondered, why should we think we understand what she means by any of the words she is using? Might she be redefining every single term she uses, in fact? Maybe so, for all we know. So the entire conversation becomes meaningless.
This is what happens when we decide that terms and concepts are completely open to redefinition. Human communication becomes impossible.
Thursday jumped loudly over the moon.
Chorgle epp yot yiggle snood, de freem ort lop ding wid.
2 + 2 = 5
Are you such a dreamer
To put the world to rights?
I’ll stay home forever
Where two and two always makes up five
Paul A. Toman
Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Through the Looking Glass:
“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”
There is nothing new under the Sun.