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Alfred Korzybski

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The word is not the thing.
--
p. 222

 
Alfred Korzybski

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I am by the law of my nature a reasoner. A person who should suppose I meant by that word, an arguer, would not only not understand me, but would understand the contrary of my meaning. I can take no interest whatever in hearing or saying any thing merely as a fact merely as having happened. It must refer to something within me before I can regard it with any curiosity or care. My mind is always energic I don't mean energetic; I require in every thing what, for lack of another word, I may call propriety, that is, a reason why the thing is at all, and why it is there or then rather than elsewhere or at another time.

 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
 

Your questions refer to words; so I have to talk about words.
You say : The point isn't the word, but its meaning, and you think of the meaning as a thing of the same kind as the word, though also different from the word. Here the word, there the meaning.

 
Ludwig Wittgenstein
 

In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, signified God's Word, the word that was Creation. But over the centuries of human culture the word has taken on other meanings, secular as well as religious. To have the word has come to be synonymous with ultimate authority, with prestige, with awesome, sometimes dangerous persuation, to have Prime Time, a TV talk show, to have the gift of the gab as well as that of speaking in tongues. The word flies through space, it is bounced from satellites, now nearer than it has ever been to the heaven from which it was believed to have come.

 
Nadine Gordimer
 

Liberty is the condition of progress. Without Liberty, there remains only barbarism. Without Liberty, there can be no civilization.
If another man has not the right to think, you have not even the right to think that he thinks wrong. If every man has not the right to think, the people of New Jersey had no right to make a statute, or to adopt a constitution no jury has the right to render a verdict, and no court to pass its sentence.
In other words, without liberty of thought, no human being has the right to form a judgment. It is impossible that there should be such a thing as real religion without liberty. Without liberty there can be no such thing as conscience, no such word as justice. All human actions all good, all bad have for a foundation the idea of human liberty, and without Liberty there can be no vice, and there can be no virtue.
Without Liberty there can be no worship, no blasphemy no love, no hatred, no justice, no progress.
Take the word Liberty from human speech and all the other words become poor, withered, meaningless sounds but with that word realized with that word understood, the world becomes a paradise.

 
Robert G. Ingersoll
 

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names liberty and tyranny.

 
Abraham Lincoln
 

The world! It is a word capable of as diverse interpretations or misinterpretations as the thing itself a thing by various people supposed to belong to heaven, man, or the devil, or alternatively to all three.

 
Dinah Craik
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