The PS cast, Learning and Language

This episode is devoted to religion, philosophy, the meaning of life, the purpose of pain, and how you probably shouldn’t be listening to me ramble so much. Learning and Sloppy Language

Transcript below:

[Marginally Musical Intro]

I sometimes feel I’m protected from bad things. Or maybe I’ve just accepted things that other people think are bad? So I don’t need to experience them? This is getting really, meta, out there kind of, uh, philosophical religious, but… well here it goes!

So, it seems like life is meant to teach us something. And maybe this is me just being naturally a teacher and and interested in teaching myself, that I want to see it everywhere. But it seems like we experience things. We keep experiencing them in order to learn something. And once we’ve learned the lesson we don’t have to, necessarily, experience those things any more.

Like, a baby will stand up under a table. And they’ll bonk their head on the underside of the table, because they stood up under it and they’re too tall for the space they’re trying to fit in. And they’ll keep doing this until they figure out “Ohh! Okay, I shouldn’t do this any more! I should be aware of stuff that’s above my head before I stand up.” Or whatever it is. I’m not even sure what they learn at that point! But there’s something that a baby figures out where he’s like “Okay, I’m not going to stand up under the table any more. That’s a dumb idea. I’m going to… I’m going to do something different. I’m gonna crawl when I’m under the table.” or “I’m just not going to go under the table anymore.” Or something!

But then you stop having that experience! And I kind of feel like a lot of people blame on “accident” what really should be credited to a lesson failed to be learned. Um… people will say “oh, it was an accident, there was nothing I could have done!” But they keep having this same experience. And it kinda feels like… you know, maybe instead of it just being fate and this… but, you know… and they’re unhappy about this situation. They’re sad about this, this circumstance or this event that keeps happening to them. And it seems to me, the approach that is healthy in that situation is: If there is anything you can do to remedy the situation, you should take that action. And if there’s nothing you can do to remedy the situation? Then you should, instead of being sad about it, simply accept it, and be happy.

Because otherwise you’re basically saying that God is evil. That the universe is made in such a way that you are being punished with evil for something that you did not do. That you had no control over. Some action that was out of your control. Not even an action! You’re just being punished for no reason. And that seems profoundly false to me. I don’t think that’s true about the universe.

And again, maybe this is my own delusion. But it seems like God gives us experiences for a reason. And one of the main reasons it seems like we have these experiences is so that we can learn.

And maybe we have experiences so that we can help others? So that when others have experiences of this same nature that we have had, we can help them through them. Be like, “Okay, we’ll help you to get through this experience.” But even then, that’s just one step removed from teaching. Then, instead of teaching ourselves (we don’t need to teach ourselves, we didn’t need that lesson in the first place. But we needed it in order that we could teach other people, but then) someone else needed that lesson. So it’s still teaching, it’s just, how many steps back are you going to come from the primary person who needs that, who needs that lesson, who needs to learn it, and has to have some help maybe.

And so, then, I think there are situations where it’s like “Well, I didn’t need this lesson! I didn’t need to be taught this! I already knew it!” But maybe you did need it so that you could better teach someone else.

And I think this comes back to, in part, why God was so frustrated with the Israelites. Because they’re so stubborn! He’s like “I’m trying to teach you all these things! There’s SO MANY THINGS I want to teach you! We could get through these lessons so much more quickly if you weren’t so stubborn, if you didn’t refuse to learn.” And I think a lot of our greif is brought on ourselves by our refusal to learn.

While we’re on the topic of religion… uh, or, perhaps, jumping to the topic of religion…

It kind of makes me uncomfortable recording all of this, because I speak a lot more (I should say I use more words) when I’m speaking out loud than when I write. Aah, probably because writing is a more considered form of communication. You can think about it and revise it and pare it down and get the phrases just right. When I’m speaking, I’m just kind of saying a bunch of stuff. And soooo, I mean, first off, it’s not ideal in terms of communication because you have to listen to all the filler. The “um”s and the “and”s and the “but”s and the “like”s and the “but anyway”s and all the other filler that I throw into my conversation, that I throw into my language.

But also because I have a bad tendency to not know when to stop… maybe. So I just keep saying the same thing over and over again, and that’s not ideal either. It wastes your time and mine. Maybe I’m just trying to figure out what I’m trying to say by saying it out loud and then listening to myself talk and analyzing how it sounds when I say the things I say. Maybe that’s it! Maybe I’m just thinking out loud.

I’m reminded of the scripture that says “In the abundance of words, sin is not absent.” (Editors note: I was thinking of Proverbs 10:19) So, please forgive me if you find sin in my ramblings. It’s not my intention, but then again I am not keeping myself from saying too much. So, I guess it is my fault. It definitely is my fault. (“I guess”! That’s another one!)

I wonder how we came to be so undisciplined. Maybe it’s part of our American Culture. Freedom. Doing whatever you want. But our language especially. I think it’s also, partially, an aversion to being interrupted, which perhaps comes from an insecurity in the, on the part of the speaker who doesn’t know for sure if what they’re saying is valuable and so they’re hesitant to stop talking in case someone interrupts them?

I have been Paul Spooner. This is the Paul Spooner Podcast, and allow me to play you out.

[Marginally Musical Outro]

About Ziggy

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