As photographers, we have to find our own identity, our own voice, our own vocabulary. And my question all the time is whether this vocabulary is limited, like our own vocabulary that goes from A to Zed, or whether this vocabulary can carry on growing. And to me, I hope that it carries on growing.
Linguistics is a good way of defining the culture of a brand. The vocabulary used by sports and lifestyle brands - running, fitness, training, motorsports - is all about functionality, whereas the vocabulary of the luxury business - handbags, ready-to-wear - is all about the product.
When we use these words and we talk about plants having a strategy to do this or wanting this or desiring this, we're being metaphorical obviously. I mean, plants do not have consciousness. But, this is a fault of our own vocabulary. We don't have a very good vocabulary to describe what others species do to us, because we think we're the only species that really does anything.
Most of us have developed a fairly extensive vocabulary for describing pain, as though the journal were a doctor requiring much detail to make the correct diagnosis. The roundness of the spiritual journey cannot be expressed without developing an equally extensive vocabulary for talking to ourselves and others about the nature of wonder, joy, ecstasy, love, transfiguration.
One of the problems with watching TV is that you've got a fairly low level of language operating all the time. Quite a small vocabulary and really no conceptual or abstract thinking. That's an issue. If you've got a wide vocabulary, you can learn. The complexities of grammar, in themselves, force you to think about time in a particular way. Force you to widen your outlook on the world.
A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker. The richer and more copious one's vocabulary and the greater one's awareness of fine distinctions and subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be one's thinking. Knowledge of things and knowledge of the words for them grow together. If you do not know the words, you can hardly know the thing.
The mind is incredible. Once you've gained mastery over it, channeling its powers positively for your purposes, you can do anything. I mean anything. The secret is to make your mind work for you not against you. This means constantly being positive. Constantly setting up challenges you can meet either today, next week, or next month. "I can't..." should be permanently stricken from your vocabulary, especially the vocabulary of your thoughts. You must see yourself always growing and improving.
More people should visit Antarctica, metaphorically speaking, on their own. That is one of the conclusions I have reached, one of my recommendations: explore something, even if it's just a bookshelf. Make a stab in the dark. Read off the beaten path. Your attention is precious. Be careful of other people trying to direct how you dispense it. Confront your own values. Decide what it is you are looking for an then look for it. Perform connoisseurship. We all need to create our own vocabulary of appreciation, or we are trapped by the vocabulary of others.
I am glad that the country world...retains a power to use our English tongue. It is a part of its sense of reality, of its vocabulary of definite terms, and of its habit of earthly common sense. I find this country writing an excellent corrective of the urban vocabulary of abstractions and of the emotion disguised as thinking which abstractions and humbug have loosed upon the world. May there always be such things as a door, a milk pail, and a loaf of bread, and words to do them honor.
Institutional psychiatry is a continuation of the Inquisition. All that has really changed is the vocabulary and the social style. The vocabulary conforms to the intellectual expectations of our age: it is a pseudo-medical jargon that parodies the concepts of science. The social style conforms to the political expectations of our age: it is a pseudo-liberal social movement that parodies the ideals of freedom and rationality.
As we reread Genesis 2... we immediately understand WHAT is 'crafty' about the serpent's question in Genesis 3. God did NOT in fact say in Genesis 2, 'You MUST NOT EAT from any tree in the garden' (3:1). What God did say was almost exactly the opposite: 'You ARE FREE TO EAT from any tree in the garden' (except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, 2:16). The vocabulary of God in Genesis 2 indicates freedom and blessing. The vocabulary of the serpent in Genesis 3 indicates prohibition and restriction. The serpent's ploy is to suggest to the woman that God is really not so good after all. He shifts attention away from all that God in his generosity has provided for his creatures in creation and onto the one thing that God has for the moment explicitly withheld.
Iain W. Provan