Discussion of Profane Oaths

This is what happens when you annoy Lorien when she’s in a good mood.

Note: You’re best not using “oh my jesus!” and “oh god oh god oh god” in her presence over, and over, and over again.

RE: OtherPerson’s Interview from the Day Before

lorien d johnson: How did it go?

OtherPerson: uhh

OtherPerson: i’m not sure

lorien d johnson: {nod}

OtherPerson: I don’t think it went well, but then she said things, so maybe yeah i don’t know.

OtherPerson: basically for most questions i had a like a 15 second pause before i could say anything. on the other hand, they were pretty specific questions, like, “What do you think an alternative to the prison system in the US could be?”

lorien d johnson: Right. and a pause while you think isn’t bad.

lorien d johnson: Especially since it was probably more like 5 seconds

lorien d johnson: Once, at a piano recital, I had this HUGE pause where I blanked on everything

OtherPerson: oh my jesus

lorien d johnson: turned out everyone else only heard a short rest, as if it were designed that way

lorien d johnson: and, by and by, if you don’t claim jesus as yours then don’t curse with the name. 😉

lorien d johnson: It’s interesting. I just wrote a paper about oath-taking, and how proclamations of that sort are a verbal contract, and that verbal contracts are perhaps teh nearest things to ones’ inner self as is possible.

lorien d johnson: and what a crock it is to use them if you don’t mean them. heh.

OtherPerson: you lost me at verbal contract

OtherPerson: may i request elaboration?

lorien d johnson: surely.

lorien d johnson: and exclamation of that sort is a form of oath.

lorien d johnson: in this case, “by _insert oath here_, I assure you I am shocked and/or sympathetic to your plight.”

lorien d johnson: it’s dwindled down over the centuries into a sort of sigh, but it has the same effect.

lorien d johnson: and an oath is just a contract made out loud

OtherPerson: so by saying “oh my jesus” I am saying that I care about what’s happening to you?

lorien d johnson: and so you are contracting by providing “my jesus” as collateral.

lorien d johnson: and two problems.

lorien d johnson: essentially, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because that’s a normal thing

lorien d johnson: if you didn’t care a little bit, why listen to the person in the first place? it’s a superficial matter, but it’s there

lorien d johnson: but.

lorien d johnson: 1) if you don’t claim jesus as your own in the first place, then you can’t offer the name/person as collateral.

lorien d johnson: 2) if you do, it’s rude. People rarely like to be offered as collateral, particularly by those who haven’t a right of ownership anyway.

lorien d johnson: oh, third problem I just realized

OtherPerson: o.O?

lorien d johnson: 3) if you don’t believe in the entity, in this case jesus, that you’re offering as collateral, you’re actually saying “I really don’t care at all, because this is a false contract that I’ve no intention of keeping.”

OtherPerson: i don’t understand where you’re getting all this collateral business

lorien d johnson: Man, this is fascinating.

lorien d johnson: That’s the nature of a contract.

lorien d johnson: If I say, “by this seashell”, then I mean that if I am lying then I have to give you that seashell.

OtherPerson: does jesus/god have to be literal?

OtherPerson: i’m sure most people who say “oh my godf” don’t mean, god, they mean… uh, something else, i don’t know what.

lorien d johnson: Not exactly. At that point they fall into the third problem: offering soemthing that they don’t even mean or comprehend

OtherPerson: i don’t understand where you’re getting all this contract business

lorien d johnson: that’s what that means

lorien d johnson: that’s why it’s called swearing…

lorien d johnson: that’s the origin of it.

OtherPerson: well, sure, that’s the origin, but things, especially language, change

lorien d johnson: in the essay I just wrote, I brought in early English profane oaths, which is what “oh my jesus” was in this context (profane because you don’t mean it as an oath, and if you did it would have been horribly offensive)

lorien d johnson: ahh, but it hasn’t changed.

lorien d johnson: It’s always had this double level, this aspect of language

lorien d johnson: the legal oath and the profane oath, coinciding.

lorien d johnson: earlier centuries used “by the guts of a crab-louse!”

lorien d johnson: which I particularly like.

lorien d johnson: and law has been very fuzzy on how to address these.

lorien d johnson: by accepting profane oaths as okay, the law must then accept that not all oaths are valid contracts.

lorien d johnson: and how is that determined? That’s not practical.

lorien d johnson: Then!

lorien d johnson: You’ve got the looser theory.

lorien d johnson: Humans interact at a communicative level.

lorien d johnson: Communication can be verbal, written, and physical.

OtherPerson: i will hear this looser theory, though of course wooshing sounds of things going over my head will continue to exist

lorien d johnson: You’re the comm major, dude.

OtherPerson: i’m the freshman comm major

lorien d johnson: and I’ve never had a comm class.

lorien d johnson: So!

lorien d johnson: Okay!

OtherPerson: do go on.

lorien d johnson: Humans interact at this level, yeah?

lorien d johnson: so.

OtherPerson: so

lorien d johnson: That communication is all that we have to represent ourselves, outside of just existing.

lorien d johnson: and just existing is bland and boring and doesn’t matter anyway because this is a communications issue.

lorien d johnson: If we make a habit of loosely representing ourselves by oaths that are meaningless, we deem ourselves meaningless.

lorien d johnson: The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

lorien d johnson: Now, let’s say that language has so totally changed that they are no longer oaths.

lorien d johnson: well, first, that’s a crock. As stated earlier, both legal and profane oaths have always coincided. So much so, in fact, that the Jesus you just false-oathed about rather lambasted into the culture of useless oath-taking, preferring that people just represent themselves by their straight-forward word.

lorien d johnson: But, let’s work with that idea anyway

lorien d johnson: I am then saying that I am going to represent myself with the vestiges of a lost form of language, one that now just means all sorts of noise.

lorien d johnson: It’s rather like sleeping on a dust mite poo-filled pillow. The mites might be gone, but that pillow still weighs 1/3 more, and you’re sleeping on bug poop.

OtherPerson: o.o

lorien d johnson: and! that’s what’s spilling from your lips by using language, modern and historical, so carelessly.

lorien d johnson: it’s saying with every other line that I’ve Got Nothing Better to Say Than Mindless Expression

lorien d johnson: That’s fine, maybe, if you’re a discordian, but even then it’s rather boring discordianism.

lorien d johnson: all in all I think it’s pretty fascinating from a communications, historical, and legal point of view.

OtherPerson: it is very fascinating

lorien d johnson: of course, there’s the supernatural side, too.

OtherPerson: however i feel that my base of knowledge isn’t quite up to par for a comprehending discussion of it D:

lorien d johnson: if our communication represents ourselves, and we spill profane/useless oaths, then our entire existence is… that.

lorien d johnson: 😉 that’s fine.

lorien d johnson: hmm. with your permission, I’ll post this babble to my blog. names changed, natch.

OtherPerson: Sure, go for it.

OtherPerson: though you could just edit out the AIM part

OtherPerson: and post it as some kind of rant.

lorien d johnson: But that would take out the part that represents my personality.

OtherPerson: Oh, I was just commenting on the fact that I say nothing of use in this conversation.

lorien d johnson: Not true!

lorien d johnson: well.

lorien d johnson: actually.

lorien d johnson: You did, by having used these useless oaths over and over in our three conversations.

lorien d johnson: But in doing so, you were saying useless oaths.

lorien d johnson: So, it’s all quite a matter of perspective.

OtherPerson: well

OtherPerson: i somewhat disagree that they’re useless

lorien d johnson: ah! very good!

lorien d johnson: go for it!

OtherPerson: lorien d johnson: Once, at a piano recital, I had this HUGE pause where I blanked on everything

OtherPerson: “oh i see”

OtherPerson: is not the same

lorien d johnson: Ahh

lorien d johnson: Indeed.

lorien d johnson: However.

OtherPerson: and i felt that it was necessary to emphasize, though you do not know why, which is that I once expereienced the same thing

OtherPerson: the piano recital pause thing.

lorien d johnson: The same emphasis can be represented in other forms of seemingly empty speech that are designed for this sole purpose “wow” “oh, man!” “me too!” “I’m sorry. 🙁 “, etc.

lorien d johnson: Without negating the positive emphasis by a profane oath.

OtherPerson: the “i’m sorry” thing has always irked me

OtherPerson: what am i feeling sorrow about? i didn’t do anything!

OtherPerson: also, there’s a slight bit of pity expressed there that i didn’t feel.

lorien d johnson: ah, two points:

OtherPerson: “me too!” would have begged a story, and “wow” has undertones of, uh, something else.

lorien d johnson: 1) I’m sorry can express sorrow over personal action or the experience of another person.

lorien d johnson: the latter being the possible usage in this case.

lorien d johnson: 2) you’re right, pity is included. Other words can be used.

OtherPerson: so, wait, it expressed sorrow for you?

OtherPerson: embarassment for you?

lorien d johnson: Not in this case because you didn’t feel that and didn’t use it.

lorien d johnson: However, that is the second possible usage, yes

lorien d johnson: I can be used as such

OtherPerson: I don’t think it’s in my personality to have that kind of feeling. Anyways.

lorien d johnson: and when someone has something bad happened, and another person uses the “I’m sorry” even though they weren’t connected, that’s the meaning. I feel this on your behalf – I am sorrowful that you experienced that.

lorien d johnson: and that’s fair enough – this is why you don’t like to use that term in your vocab.

lorien d johnson: also could imply that you’re a bit of a jerk, but! you’re also 18 so this is understood. 😉

lorien d johnson: see what language can do? lol

OtherPerson: nah, i’m very much the emotional wasteland, as it were.

lorien d johnson: Hmm, often they do equate, and generally a matter of maturity.

OtherPerson: well

lorien d johnson: that, and an overall void.

lorien d johnson: you, as a human, are capable of being happy and fulfilled, but you haven’t found a source for it yet.

OtherPerson: i mean, it’s not like other 18 year olds i know don’t feel emotion, it’s not exactly an epidemic of emotion-less-ness

lorien d johnson: in the longterm sense.

OtherPerson: it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that i finally identified what it is to be excited

OtherPerson: i mean, i understand what it is intellectually, but it wasn’t until that time that i thought to myself, “I’m excited! This is what I feel like when I’m excited!”

lorien d johnson: {nod}

OtherPerson: I don’t know, when other people have emotions, do you have an easy time identifying it? Because I don’t.

OtherPerson: Also, “oh, man!” is probably the most equivalent to “oh my jesus,” but it’s still lacking in “oomph” factor, as it were.

OtherPerson: What lends “oh my jesus” that oomph factor? Just from my local circle using it that way?

OtherPerson: Or that weird political-religious intersection?

lorien d johnson: can oomph actually exist if you discount the existence of a jesus?

OtherPerson: is it the fact that jesus tends to be accepted as existing, so we “borrow” other people’s belief?

lorien d johnson: ah, then it’s just rude.

OtherPerson: tends to be accepted is not the right way to put it

OtherPerson: but people who do believe, put a lot of weight into him.

lorien d johnson: right

OtherPerson: well, we are 18, we are not concerned with politeness, mostly.

lorien d johnson: Ah, and that’s a major flaw.

lorien d johnson: and it’s not a matter of age. Or, rather, it could be but it shouldn’t be.

OtherPerson: but I don’t think it’s rudeness at work.

OtherPerson: I mean certainly we lot are a callous bunch

lorien d johnson: Perhaps not in intent, but if it is so in effect?

OtherPerson: oh, sure, could be, i’m not religious, i wouldn’t know.

lorien d johnson: understood. So: it’s rude in effect.

OtherPerson: but I think the reason we use words like “what the christ” and “oh my jesus” is A) unexpectedness (thus, funny), and B) borrowing the oomph.

lorien d johnson: ahh

lorien d johnson: except A) is discounted by it being in nearly every other line of text

lorien d johnson: and B) is inherently rude.

OtherPerson: I mean we also use “what the pho” and that’s kind of similar.

OtherPerson: is it?

OtherPerson: I mean, ever other line of text.

lorien d johnson: um, almost.

lorien d johnson: I haven’t kept count or logs.

OtherPerson: I’ve never really read over my own conversations.

lorien d johnson: but there’s a variation of it.

OtherPerson: well, we are also young angry men, perhaps that also contributes

lorien d johnson: which is why I decided to use the lecturing pseudo-discussion to smack you over the head in a polite manner. 😉

OtherPerson: perhaps we are raging against the judeo-christian system that holds my people down

lorien d johnson: sure, but it’s ineffective as a way to rage.

lorien d johnson: Although most rage is ineffective. It depends on what it produces.

OtherPerson: yeah, way to take the piss out of my fun

lorien d johnson: 😀

OtherPerson: rawr

OtherPerson: but yes, swearing

OtherPerson: us young boys do it a lot.

OtherPerson: perhaps it is a self-reinforcing thing

OtherPerson: we do it casually, and the communities we hang out in do it casually

OtherPerson: so we do it casually

OtherPerson: the other couple of problems is that i personally (with no research to back it up) believe that words change from social cricle to social cricle, and the other is that, again, everything you’ve said for the last hour i’ve only picked up like a fourth of

lorien d johnson: 1) you’re not that young of a boy anymore, and claiming to be a boy is the surest way to never be a man

OtherPerson: well, not recently. but the lecturish.

lorien d johnson: lol

lorien d johnson: that’s okay.

OtherPerson: 1) it was facetious 😛

lorien d johnson: that was why it was entertaining from my end.

lorien d johnson: and I agree.

OtherPerson: though if you want to argue subconscious soemthing something

lorien d johnson: The secondary meaning of words do adapt amongst various circles

lorien d johnson: but the primary meaning is never eliminated from circle to circle, although it can disappear/adapt in society at large

lorien d johnson: and subconscious is less fun to discuss because you can’t pin it down.

OtherPerson: fag.

lorien d johnson: Good example!

OtherPerson: what is the primary meaning of?

OtherPerson: ostensibly it is a bundle of flammable sticks

lorien d johnson: In American society at large, it’s a derogatory term.

OtherPerson: surely

lorien d johnson: In English society at large, et al, cigarette.

lorien d johnson: Which it why it’s a good example:

lorien d johnson: societies at large can also differ.

OtherPerson: but i think i might argue that in american society, though it is derogatory, it might not always be applicable to gays

lorien d johnson: Agreed!

lorien d johnson: In secondary form.

OtherPerson: perhaps this is “classic 18 year old boy” speaking, but i habitually use the word ‘fag’ and do not think less of gays for it

OtherPerson: but there are many subtleties, perhaps you can throw a book at me

lorien d johnson: When a bunch of teenagers get around and start naming each other fag, they aren’t saying “you’re a dirty homo, man!”

lorien d johnson: But the primary meaning of the

OtherPerson: well obviously one does not throw the term fag at strangers

OtherPerson: i think that secondary meanings must be agreed upon, as it were

OtherPerson: otherwise primary meaning takes over

lorien d johnson: primary meaning of the word is what give sthat secondary meaning color/oomph.

OtherPerson: i don’t know if any of that makes sense

lorien d johnson: It doesn’t go away – it serves as the backdrop for the secondary use

OtherPerson: i think it gives it a rolling momentum

lorien d johnson: Precisely. It doesn’t go away.

lorien d johnson: Therefore, when you use profane oaths you do so in the secondary meaning (accepted by society at large, no less), but it retains its primary meaning.

OtherPerson: ah

OtherPerson: hence the oomph of “what the christ”

lorien d johnson: and the primary meaning is both a) extremely damaging to your representation in the world, and b) rude to those who hold to the primary meaning (me).

lorien d johnson: Exactly.

OtherPerson: why didn’t you just explain it this way, it’s so much easier

(unless i’m missing something still?)

lorien d johnson: No, that’s likely the gist.

lorien d johnson: because you annoyed me over the course of three conversations and this was MUCH more fun!

lorien d johnson: {grin}

OtherPerson: D:

OtherPerson: okay i’ve run out of steam for today’s session, i think i’ll talk to you again, on no concrete calendar.

lorien d johnson: haha, okay

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