Monday, 27 January 2014

Misused Words

There have been a number of pictures and memes doing the rounds lately that point out commonly misused words or phrases in the English language.

So far, I'd have to say this is my personal favourite:

Now, at some stage or another, I'm sure most of us have been guilty of using some words wrongly.  Sometimes it could simply be a case of you've never seen it written down and are going completely by ear.

And sometimes it's just that maybe you didn't pay enough attention in school.

With kids, we're constantly correcting them on their words and while they may get frustrated, we usually manage to stop them saying things like "catched the ball" or "buyed it from the shops".  Our teens we work on the over used words that lose all meaning - "Like, actually, I mean, you know?"

Sometimes with adults it can be a little harder.  But generally, intelligent adults will look it up, feel embarrassed and make a point of not misusing that word in future.  "To be pacific, if it's any constellation to you..."

Why is it so different in spiritual circles?

There are a number of Hindi words that are commonly misused and I know there is no way to change it - that horse has well and truly bolted.  But when I have found myself educated on what the word (and underlying concept) really means, I have made a point of not misusing that word (or concept) any further.  Isn't that the right thing to do?  I don't see the sense in continuing to use it to mean something different "Just because everyone understands what I mean."

Karma.  Most commonly used to mean do bad things and bad things will happen to you.  Sometimes used to mean much the same thing but do bad things in this life and your next life will be crappy.  It turns out that both are somewhat incorrect.

A chap in several groups I frequent was raised Hindi, this is a bugbear of his.  He tirelessly explains (over and over) that it's not that at all.  Karma is tied to Samsara which is a purely Hindi concept.  If you're not Hindu, you don't have Samsara and therefore no Karma.  To break it down even further, it may be your Karma to be a shit in this life, there are lessons for your soul to learn by being a shit.  You might think (as many do) that by not being a shit and doing good things you are earning good karma but this is not the case.  You'd be going against your karma and therefore it would in fact be bad karma.

I really wish I'd saved one of his patient and polite rants to share it verbatim here.

Devas is another misunderstood term.  Deva means 'deity' - the feminine is Devi which means Goddess.  (And a source of amusement for me when my Indian friends couldn't pronounce the 'b' in Debbie and ended up calling me Devi).  This is the root from which Divine, Deity and similar meaning words in many European languages has come from.

In the Vedas and the Upanishads, there are 33 Devas mentioned.  Some are personifications (or deified personifications) of forces of nature and some are (deified) personifications of moral values.  The Vasus are the forces of nature - they are or represent; Earth, Hot Fire, Wind, Space, Eternal, Moon, Sky and Stars.

Somehow in modern usage, deva has come to mean the spirits of the land and plants around you.  I've read of this in books and heard it said (although not that commonly).

Again though, when the error is pointed out the response is "it's a widely used term known to mean this".

At what point does this sort of thing become okay?  If you know a word is incorrect, why would you continue to use it?  Am I a prat for pointing it out or are you the prat for knowingly misusing a word?




  1. Eye done no watt is rung wit dim supressions ewe our righting a bout...
    awl doze worlds scene awl wright two me!
    My moms red two me ovary knight, wile eye was grown up;
    an airy day, eye fell a whittle moor in tell a gent!
    Four shore, my moms tired reel heart to etiquette me...
    Eye half two say, it wood knot be fare two my moms and my principals if eye donut share my story hear. Thankyou four listing in!

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