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Do you know what I mean?

  1. Feb 7, 2005 #1
    How can we describe the ability to communicate an idea in which we cannot describe? We have conversations where we are never fully able to use words to say what we're trying to say. We circle around them, with metaphors and similies, but never say exactly what it is, end the statement with "Do you know what I mean?" and get a yes. Somehow we can come to a consensus on a topic without ever using a clear definition of that which we are speaking. You know what I mean?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2005 #2
    Yes, I know what you mean. I sometimes can't express
    what I am trying to say. Hmm...maybe someone should start
    building something like a Borg (from Star Trek) connection for 2 people,
    in which thoughts are directly transferred. :tongue:

  4. Feb 8, 2005 #3
    Well, see my question was, are there theories on this? People understanding someone while the idea was never relayed through the conventional theory of common speech?
  5. Feb 12, 2005 #4
    I don't have trouble saying what I want to say, and I will stoop to anything, metaphor, simile, image, sound bites, cries, moans, songs, full body language.

    You know what I mean? Now that is the problem, frequently people don't even know what they say, or why they say it; so transference of meaning is impossible, especially considering the differences between individuals, and expectations, and desires.

    He says," It's late, I am really tired, I have a very soft bed, a bottle of wine and some tasty snacks, you look great in that dress, do you know what I mean?"

    She says, "Yes, I am sorry for your lack of physical vigor, but however, I am glad that you have comfortable quarters, and sustenance, good night."
  6. Feb 25, 2005 #5
    Ever read Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations? I don't want to sound like a disciple (by constantly bringing him up), but he answers your question quite well.

    The basic point you may want to consider is that you can't define any word, or conceive of any concept, without knowing lots of other words/concepts.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2005
  7. Mar 7, 2005 #6
    Subjective experience

    It seems there are many things in this world that are purely subjective and no amount of words can desribe what is being felt. It is like trying to explain to someone what a chocolate ice cream cone taste like. Even if the other person taste the cone there is no way of confirming that the cone taste the same to both of you.
  8. Mar 16, 2005 #7
    Pretty much every feeling or concept can be communicated, if your are effective enough in your techniques of communication.

    Some things can not be directly stated, but can be explained through analogy.
    Other times it helps to make a story, stories often have themes which can not be given proper description through just sentences or statements, it takes an entire book to define the setting, the theme, and eventually, the message.
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