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23 December 2008 @ 10:16 am
Tao of the Day: Be Weary Ye of Labels  
No name can fully express what it represents.
- Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching #1, trans. Bahm)

"'My lover!'" she crooned. "It doesn't mean love. It only means sex, an 'affair', a liaison, it's a dirty, sniggering, sniveling word. I never was Barbara's 'lover'. Spare me that!"

After a pause, Jen said gamely, though in a small questioning tone, "Friend?"

"Spare me the euphemisms, too," Shirley said with some grandeur. [...] "You see?" she said. "There aren't any words that mean anything. For us. For any of us. We can't say who we are. Even men can't anymore. Did the paper say she was survived by her ex-husband? What about the man she lived with before she met your father, what's his label? We don't have words for what we do! Wife, husband, lover, ex, post, step, it's all leftovers, words from some other civilization, nothing to do with us. Nothing means anything but the proper names. You can say Barbara was survived by Shirley. That's all you can say."

- Ursula K. LeGuin, Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand



I would define lover differently. And that's kind of the point :) Labels bring with them such strange expectations, such deep paradigms.
 
 
Current Music: "Boy with a Coin" - Iron & Wine
 
 
 
sculptruth on December 23rd, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
How serendipitous a post is this!
propaganda_ministry: Not-an-artisti_maenad on December 23rd, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
This is why the gods gave us words like "snookywookums" & "bunnyhunch." The mathematical precision of human language is a constant source of joy!

Besides, the more conflicting meanings there are for words, the more time we all get to spend processing. And who doesn't love processing?

Kburgunder on December 23rd, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
This is why the gods gave us words like "snookywookums" & "bunnyhunch." The mathematical precision of human language is a constant source of joy!

LAUGH

Besides, the more conflicting meanings there are for words, the more time we all get to spend processing. And who doesn't love processing?

Feelings are stupid, kissing is awesome! GRiN

Oh man, so there is a sister post to this post that a friend of mine wrote uncannily at the exact time about gender identity. I'm going to go see if your profile has an email address and send it to you. It's totally choir, but it's awesome choir, it's good to be part of the choir sometimes :)
Kburgunder on December 23rd, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Sent to the artdykes address.