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May 22, 2012 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Food. Not food. Simply good.

A loss for words. By brain damage or superior intellect? With the political climate, maybe a loss for words is a real asset.

Guess the Animal Kingdom gloats superiority in this. Life is so much more simple: food or not food. That’s pretty much it.

Humans, perpetually tweaking and improving, did this to themselves. Had to assign lines and squiggles to sounds and beats. Not good enough just to utter a response. Had to compose a system of reading utterances back – to nag and destroy.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is now probably wishing he’d remembered the phrase “Silence is golden” after Monday’s comments .

Could written language be the real Forbidden Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge?

Oh, no. The invention of writing was definitely for good. Even with the potential for confusion.

Lots of benefits.

  • Think: peace treaties and legal contracts. (Oh, well, maybe not that last one)
  • Think: yummy recipes, bar style drinks, and life saving medical treatments.(Concerns. Seriously? The first 2 are good, for sure – and the last? It’s Big Pharm, not the drug, that’s a problem.)
  • Wait. Scientific knowledge helps civilization progress – like smashing the atom. (That was all for good, right?)

Good. Now there’s a perfect example.

 A common well-defined word.

Lots of people know and use it daily.

Familiar. Comfortable.

It’s good!

We’ll all agree on that one.

Everyone wants to be good and have “good”. (Or was that to have goods? Anyway.)

Wait. Can good ever be bad?

(No, we are not talking about pretty girls in plaid skirts.)

The Olympics are good, right?

A chance for all to compete equally in fair competitions?

  • Well, there’s that small issue about some countries paying their athletes’ living expenses and having national training centers and others not.
  • And the concern that wealthy nations are able to hand their athletes specially designed apparel that can shave minutes off competition times.
  • Even more complex is the suggestion some counties’ athletes use performance enhancing drugs or are a genetically of a different gender that the others in the event.

Still overall, the Olympics are good and benefit so many.

Well, maybe not the residents that had to get out of the way for the new construction. But hey, it’s only human to want things to look nice for visitors! And those visitors spend lots of money at the Games and jobs are created, so that’s good, right? A few are unhappy for the common good?

Does good have to be a balancing act?

Promoting friendly competitions during the Olympic Games is good.

But promoting a nationalistic idea or philosophy during the Olympics like in the 1936 Olympics, isn’t good.

Things are getting a little confused here.

But it’s all good these days.

We teach children good.

To be kind. To be cooperative. To be considerate.

Like don’t hold up other travelers in the airport.

“Sorry, mommy can’t go with you. Don’t cry. Let the TSA agent do that. I know mommy and daddy said to never let anyone touch you there – And scream and run away if anyone tries – And to tell mommy or daddy if anyone makes you uncomfortable when they touch you.”

Don’t be afraid. It’s making us safer.

It’s for the common good.

Now a kid, relying a lot on body language and tone of voice to understand things, might want to have a short philosophical conversation about “good” and “safer” at this point – if the kid only had the words to do so. And if any adult would actually listen and seriously consider. Confusing, good and simple.


It’s just so human: making things complex.

Shades of meaning requires a discerning mind.

Requiring higher level thinking?

(Oh, we may be in trouble – if reports are true that students today are lacking that ability.)

Maybe it’s for the best:

Life simplified.

Food. Not food.

A loss for words.

(Maybe not so good?)

Sounding the depths,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Related posts may be found by clicking the “Language” tag in the sidebar

Odd, but true department: If you read many blogs, you’ve realized that sometimes multiple bloggers spontaneously create posts on the same subject. Bound to be discussions there about universal mind and stuff. In any case here’s some related posts you might find interesting (and there are others ….please add to the list):

Roxie’s Blog “Sunday’s Funny: Name it!” (May 20 – Odd names. Names for your characters?) Turn on the red light-Rox. – Oh, sorry, Roxie. Couldn’t help it…you started it.

You Knew What I Meant: Errors and Intentions.  Blog muses over hilarious mistakes with language and words  – every single day.(those are tears of joy, right?)  Great read.

Shoreacres: The Task at Hand, A writer’s on-going search for just the right word. “Liberating Language” (May 14. Passive and Active vocabulary. Using language as a tool. Richness of language. And some very good stories, tales, observations, and interesting places.)

Mere Inkling   “Mastering the Contranym” (May 6 The odd English language), “The Single Source of All Good” (May 10 – complex view of “good”.)

Finally Home Rescue. “A Funny thing happened on the way to the….” (May 17. A post about “good” – and the struggle of what it means to a be a good person in real life.)

Olympic 2012 Mascot. This is good – well, actually it’s Wenlock.


  1. Honie Briggs / May 22 2012 9:56 pm

    I’ve often wondered how other bloggers end up with such similar topics. Now I know it’s the universal mind. : ) I thought everyone was just copying me. Funny. (funny odd and funny ha ha) Nice post.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2012 9:59 pm

      And there’s always that phrase “great minds run in the same channels”…but the “great” is a bit much? Glad you stopped by for a chuckle.


  2. Cat Forsley / May 22 2012 10:06 pm

    “superior intellect” I THINK IT IS MR. !!!!!!



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2012 10:34 pm

      Hey – you can stop by anytime. Seriously glad you found something to intrigue you. Thanks for the encouragement


      • Cat Forsley / May 23 2012 10:34 am

        🙂 HEY……
        I WILL 🙂
        LATERAL THINKING ——- 🙂

        🙂 CXX


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2012 1:22 pm

          I thought you’d catch it – not sure if many will hang in there..requires a bit of effort (but if you don’t have to work for something…). Guess that’s what I enjoy about your posts – always a great read. Thanks


  3. Roxie / May 22 2012 10:22 pm

    nice to know we’re linked mindwise…and yes, I started it, so I can’t object. Will say yours is better’n mine, hehehe. Great post Phil 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2012 10:40 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s been a bit prodding, chopping, and pushing this one around – still not quite…, but it’s a blog and other posts are getting annoyed waiting (and don’t want a couple of those to wander off). Onward, er, blogwards!


  4. Kourtney Heintz / May 22 2012 10:59 pm

    Good and bad seem so simple when we are kids. Not sure I grasped the nuances back then. The subjectivity and the perspective requirements came later.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2012 11:25 pm

      Kids see things in simple terms.(and oddly prefer primary colors) Later, people learn to appreciate subtle colors, blends – and see the complexity of shades of gray with “truths”. Possibly the same with food flavors and taste buds becoming more discriminating? Intriguing. Thanks for pondering along


  5. jmmcdowell / May 22 2012 11:19 pm

    As children, we easily see things as black or white. Learning all the shades of gray in between is harder. Realizing that every color in addition to gray lies between them is something that few people master. Just the thought of those pat downs on children is enough to turn my stomach….


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2012 11:35 pm

      This post was much longer originally and explored multiple meanings and “shades” of meaning – (like for the color “yellow”: mustard, canary…and the various denotations and connotations). But it just got too long and complex – and probably even more confusing. After major chopping, just threw it out there and hoped it held together. Thanks for wandering through!


  6. katecrimmins / May 22 2012 11:19 pm

    Interesting post. Kind of ying and yang.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 22 2012 11:37 pm

      The whole thing started with a comment on Roxie’s blog. I guess it is a bit ying and yang. – thanks for adding that


      • MJ, Nonstepmom / May 23 2012 12:22 am

        I’ve read this twice….the world is so different as kids, how we see things…& I had to comment on the previous comment – I’ve gotten many ideas from “comments” !


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2012 1:02 am

          Kids are learning the language as they go along. Grab the big ideas first, then come back to color in the details?
          You are right about comments – people see things from different angles -it’s great. Thanks for joining in the dialogue


  7. Jeannie / May 23 2012 3:09 am

    I’m confused. Where’s the food? LOL As usual, an awesome post. Just thinking about all of this gives me a headache but still, I know “good” when I see it. 🙂 Pat downs on children–that’s not good.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2012 12:48 pm

      Good to go with that gut feeling. (Now there’s food for thought) Thanks for hungering for a read!


  8. EllaDee / May 23 2012 3:42 am

    An enjoyable I need to read this twice post:) Food not food would make life simple, and a snooze in the sun would be good. Do we need more? We think we do. BTW I thought you were joking about Wenlock but I googled it. I’m missing something here but I think I’m better off not knowing.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2012 12:54 pm

      Thanks for hanging in to read twice – it’s a bit complex (not helped by being severely chopped in an attempt to keep length down).
      Wenlock. What can I say? On that I feel a little like your last sentence…Glad you ran by


  9. jmlindy422 / May 23 2012 6:01 am

    Ah, language. I was excoriated recently for using the word “Amen” in a strictly non-religious (in my mind) sense. Said excoriator accused moi of inserting religion “into everything.” Me!? Sigh. Nice post.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2012 1:01 pm

      As if life wasn’t hard enough, people had to create a language bound to confuse.
      If they can have drum sets and guitars in church, you definitely can use “Amen” anywhere. Sounds like a few righteously indignant people need to lighten up…people have gotten so touchy – blah. Thanks for adding that ( you get an “amen” from here)


  10. jannatwrites / May 23 2012 6:31 am

    It’s the exceptions to the rules that drive kids (and parents) nuts. Recently, I was out with my kids and had a conversation with someone at a store. When we walked away, my older son asked if I knew her. I told him I didn’t but was just being friendly. Then said, “I thought we weren’t supposed to talk to strangers.” Right. Soooo, we ended up in a long discussion which probably made him regret pointing out that inconsistency.

    Life is pretty much just navigating trhough the gray area as best we can. That is good 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2012 1:08 pm

      Inconsistencies are what get kids in trouble – that part of the brain that deals with nuances/ perceptions are still developing. And having a language that is flexible in meaning and use doesn’t help.
      Soooo you’ve learn how to really annoy your kids – long explanations.(teen advocates have been trying to have that declared an instrument of torture….). But seriously that was an important topic parents forget sometimes.
      THanks for struggling through the gray to visit!


  11. writingfeemail / May 23 2012 10:29 am

    It’s so true, isn’t it? I’ve become a little jaded about hearing anyone in authority announce plans that will be for the ‘common good’. That usually means individual rights have just been trampled and that we won’t like it.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2012 1:10 pm

      Language has become not only a tool but a weapon. Good notice. Thanks for mentioning that point.


  12. rumpydog / May 23 2012 10:46 am

    I had to let this sink in a bit before I replied. I totally agree with you about things being so much easier or dogs. I also really don’t believe that there’s good or bad anymore. I mean, anything bad can be whitewashed by the right PR person, so hey! It really IS all good!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2012 1:26 pm

      Dogs see “yellow”. Humans see: lemon, mustard, canary, Saffron, gold, butter….People make communication difficult. (maybe there’s a clue in how many words refer to food colors?)
      At one time people enjoyed and recognized word play and word craft…not so sure students study that now.
      So best watch the dogs for a clue of what’s good and true – they seem to be able to nose that out. Thanks for stopping by to chat and chew


  13. Paprika Furstenburg / May 23 2012 11:59 am

    Very good post and I mean that in a good way 🙂


  14. CATachresis / May 23 2012 1:04 pm

    Another incisive post to focus the mind!! Food or no food? Yep!!!

    PS I am hating the olympics already and we’ve got the flame coming through here in a couple of days! My nephew is standing guard with the Air Cadets at 7a.m. !!! No Way Ho Say.


  15. The Hook / May 23 2012 10:36 pm

    Another winning post! You operate on a whole other level than yours truly…
    “Could written language be the real Forbidden Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge?”
    Killer line…
    Good for you!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 23 2012 11:15 pm

      Figured you’d catch that. We both make observations about people – yours are just funnier! Glad you stopped by


  16. PiedType / May 24 2012 4:50 am

    Wenlock? Didn’t recognize the name or the figure; you drove me to look it up. The poor little guy (?) is burdened with so much symbolism, I feel sorry for him. (But I’m pretty sure he’s “not food.”)


  17. Sunshine / May 24 2012 6:21 am

    Okay, you got me. I’m confused. Lol! I’ll just say this…Olympic Games are way better than Hunger Games. Just saying. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 24 2012 12:51 pm

      See? Success! Written language and words confuse communication horribly. (Animals have it so much simpler) thanks for pondering


  18. aFrankAngle / May 24 2012 1:37 pm

    What doesn’t have pluses and minuses … and cheers to the good in humanity.


  19. Ally Bean / May 24 2012 2:41 pm

    In my experience when it comes to human communication the real issue isn’t the words as much as the intent behind the words. Figure out if the intent is good/sincere [or bad/insincere] & you will communicate clearly.

    The gray areas that baffle kids as well as adults are when you can’t figure out another person’s true intentions. Animals have us beat on that issue: eat or be eaten. Very clear intent.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 24 2012 7:39 pm

      Communication is complex for sure – inexact language plus intent as you say. Especially these days, you have to search behind the words. Glad you mentioned that – good job!


  20. shoreacres / May 26 2012 1:52 pm

    And then there’s non-verbal communication, and the way words can alter our perception of reality. When I read “Food. Not Food…” I saw that Tarzan illustration as a can of Spam. It took a second look to figure out I’d taken the wrong mental road.

    Sometimes, we don’t have an illustration to double check. That’s when the wrong road gets a lot harder to discern.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2012 3:42 pm

      Communication is complex – especially when everyone is in a hurry! Thanks for swinging by


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