Confrontation

Confrontation: (n) a hostile or argumentative meeting or situation between opposing parties

Sometimes I think Mr. Webster’s had a bad day.

Yet I guess those who put together the dictionary try to reflect the mood of the society in which we live. Somewhere along the line we’ve begun to believe that “I don’t agree with you, I don’t appreciate that, I don’t understand,” and “I hate you” all mean the same thing.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

They don’t.

Each one signifies a different human emotion. Therefore, each one has to be handled at the level of confrontation it presents.

Let’s start with Number 1.

  1. “I don’t agree with you. “

Honestly, this is a confrontation. It may limit immediate harmony but it is not without the potential for conversation, compromise and resolution. Matter of fact, we might consider it essential to the climate of a democracy.

  1. “I don’t appreciate that.”

This is a different level of confrontation. It is objecting to how something was handled. It is not terminal to a relationship–it merely sets a timeclock for interaction, sensitivity and reconciliation.

  1. “I don’t understand.”

Also a form of confrontation. This states clearly that what was stated is not clear. It is asking for additional information. It is not a personal attack, nor is it a judgment of the original idea. Clarification.

  1. “I hate you.”

This is what Mr. Webster envisioned when offering his definition. But “I hate you” has little to do with a desire to create an exchange of ideas and a communion of souls. It is a giant leap into the fiery pit of hell where all hatred dwells.

I believe in confrontation.

Without it, we live in a world of insincerity, in which gossip becomes the only way we express our true feelings.

 

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Conflict

Conflict: (n) a serious disagreement or argument

When trying to rent an auditorium, I once had the proprietor of the theater say, “Hold on. We have a conflict.”

We were just discussing dates–but he was right. That is what a conflict should be.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I want something. You can’t provide it.

You explain that to me, and we make other arrangements.

But Mr. Webster seems to think that for a conflict to be legitimate, there has to be a serious disagreement.

I, for one, am opposed to serious disagreements.

I am completely uninterested in adult conflict, which lends itself to arguments, pouting and grudges.

So today, I am determined to change the definition of the word “conflict” to a first-stage discussion which is elegantly handled by two or more mature, kindly, intelligent adult people.

Long before we become entrenched and start throwing grenades across the chasm, it is possible to say, “I think, on this point, we have a conflict. ”

Then conflict becomes valuable. It tells us that the circumstances we are pursuing are not suitable for everyone until they’re renegotiated.

It isn’t standing in the mud of a political party and insisting that if the other side doesn’t comply, they are either ignorant, or elitist.

We have a conflict. It is not insurmountable, unless we want to let that conflict lay around and become aggravated.

Let’s not do that.

Let’s immediately share when something is not to our taste, with the hopes that a simple conversation might render yet another possibility.

And may I say that often that third option is proven to be much better than either yours original, or mine.

 

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Choosy

Choosy: (adj) overly fastidious in making a choice.

Oh, there goes Webster again.

For some reason, the dictionary feels it’s important to offer a certain amount of social commentary in describing the words that are showcased.

Here is the truth of the matter as far as I know: if you are not choosy, eventually you don’t get to choose, and you’re stuck with what’s chosen for you.

Welcome to Earth.

So portraying “choosy” as a negative attitude is the propaganda of governments, religionists, politicians and Madison Avenue agents, who would really like to plan your entire life, but feel that saying this bluntly might scare you away. So instead, they connote that you are “choosy” if you do not choose what they want you to choose on any chosen occasion.

If the dinner menu for the night is barbecued baked beans with barbecued beef and barbecued corn bread with barbecued pudding for dessert, folks might frown at you if, in a choosy way, you insist you prefer not to “go barbecue” tonight.

The problem in our world is not that people are too choosy. The difficulty lies in the fact that we’re not given enough choice.

  • Politics is divided into two major parties, with a whisker’s difference between the pair.
  • Churches insist they offer varieties of services, while simultaneously delivering the same spiritually tone-deaf message.
  • And the clothing in the department stores settles into shades that are determined to be this season’s preference, with stylings which are the “hit of the catwalk.”

What would happen if Americans actually did become choosy?

If we decided not to let the critics determine the best motion pictures?

If we didn’t leave it up to aging librarians to pick out the top books?

What if we had an open marketplace, an open discussion, an open spirit and an open mind–to give things a platform and see how they fared?

What if the whole world were a blind taste test? How would McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Apple, Democrats, Republicans and the religious system chart?

I’m choosy–and pretty proud of it. I often disagree with other people about my choices, but never in a disagreeable way.

But I’m not about to believe that something being popular gives it any more credence than I am to think that the hula-hoop was meant to last forever.

 

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Choice

Choice: (n) selected as one’s favorite or the best.

Webster seems to believe that choice is expressing a preference. Perhaps that is the universal concept.

But the problem with that particular interpretation is that it opens the door to decisions being made that are harmful to others, but can be
justified based upon “the freedom of…”

Does freedom give us choice, or does freedom demand responsibility? And what is the blending of freedom and choice?

Do I have the right, simply because I live, breathe and exist, to move about the Earth at my whim?

Of course not. No one believes that. What we disagree on are the specifics of the restrictions. The debate is about where your choice ends and my freedom begins, and where my responsibility kicks in and your choice begins.

I think the definition of choice needs an addendum.

If we’re going to continue to exist as a human family, cooperating with one another, choice must become a preference without harm.

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Beverage

Beverage: (n) a drink, especially other than water

Dictionary BPerhaps one of the more valuable parts of my mission of writing this daily essay using the language that Webster offers to us is that I can occasionally warn you about words that should never be used.

I’m not going to make a comprehensive list right now, but instead, will use today’s choice as an example of such a misstep.

May it be declared from the Heavens and enacted upon the Earth that the word “beverage” should never be spoken aloud, at least in the Continental United States.

It is one of those words that makes it appear that you’re either very insecure about your education, or you are determined to pick obscure terms in order to make yourself look like the long-lost noble son of the Russian throne.

Beverage is not a word.

It is what we shall call an anti-word.

An anti-word is something that comes out of our mouths which we thought would communicate our sophistication, but instead leaves the room bewildered, perplexed or pissed off because we are acting superior.

You can feel free to say, “Do you want a Coke?” (That works really well in the South.)

I suppose it’s tolerable to say, “Would you like a soda?” (Even though in the North, “pop” is preferred.)

But the safest thing to ask is, “Would you like something to drink?”

So if we’re beginning a list of forbidden terms, let us start off with the word “beverage.”

Because quite honestly, anyone who asks me if “I want a beverage”… just might be training to be a serial killer.

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Association

Association: (n) a group of people organized for a joint purpose.dictionary with letter A

“Guilty by association.”

What does that mean?

I guess the definition would be, “because I find myself in the proximity and influence of certain individuals, I am therefore equated to possess the same character.”

Even in the definition afforded us by Mr. Webster, we have two words that immediately seem to be at war with each other: “organized” and “purpose.”

For often, you see, the purity of a purpose is greatly diluted by the process of organizing.

A political party may begin on the premise that “all men are created equal,” only to end up with the evolution of “equal men are all created.” It’s a twist in the phrase which allows us to determine that certain people are not equal because of their intelligence, background or even hue.

It is in the process of organization that we often lose our purpose, and end up in an association with other individuals who share a common name, having abandoned a royal theme.

I am a Christian. Yet I am often hesitant to speak that aloud because it conjures images into the mind of the hearer that are contrary to my true heart and beliefs.

On the other hand, if I don’t claim any association, I can be viewed as a renegade or a heretic, off on my own, trying to create god in my image.

It is tricky business.

So it is my practice to not join associations–especially when they spend more time organizing than pursuing purpose. 

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Antonym

dictionary with letter A

Antonym: (n) a word opposite in meaning from another. (e.g., bad and good)

What a simplistic example by Webster–bad and good.

I will tell you right now–there are antonyms in our generation that did not exist a hundred years ago, but because of the introduction of the lifestyle of mediocrity, we have gradually eroded certain virtues, causing them to lose their rich soil. Let me give you some examples:

Religious and spiritual.

Although once considered synonyms, they are now on the other side of the room from each other, throwing doctrines. Being religious is pursuing a form of godliness, and being spiritual is finding the power in believing and making it practical.

Shall we try again?

Politician and statesman.

At one time they might have been used in a press release to describe a senator or congressman. But after eight or more years of governmental deadlock, we now realize that a politician is someone who is voted into office and a statesman is an individual who embodies the office.

I guess I have time for one more.

Men and women.

We have convinced ourselves today that they are opposites. It was fully the intention of the Creator to make them synonyms, complementary to one another. But because we find communication so exhausting and understanding passé, we would rather conclude that the two sexes of our species are doomed to derision.

We must be careful about this word, antonym.

For instance, simply calling it a “war on terror” does not keep it from being a war.

And insisting that people are born with certain attributes does not remove the responsibility we all have … to improve and grow out of our crib.

 

 

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