WORD: one or more characters acting at the staging of a meaning

Words form as characters that dance before the eyes. The choreography acts their symbolism. They pose and balance and display their agility with acrobatics of meaning and conjugation. For the duration of the performance the stage confines their scope and supposes to exclude the remainder of the universe, but the theatre of character-words has no walls.

A word or word-group is a character compounded symbol whose meaning is conferred by the context. It functions as a communication element by being associated with a few aspects of reality. Thus 'figure' can mean 'shape' or 'body' or 'digit' or 'think', depending upon what stage it is performing on. It is never tied irrevocably to those few venues and can easily be induced to perform in other theatres of interest. Even seemingly context independent words like 'but', 'that' and 'to' can be loaded with situation and delivery variations.

Words are ambiguous because of the chaotic structure of our minds, society and nature. We have to cope with both the complexities of human culture and the vicissitudes of nature itself. We have evolved in complex social groups where our status, role and security, is highly dependent upon the acquisition of a sophisticated and devious linguistic skill. Using words indirectly and ambiguously conceals the exact nature of one's intentions or aspirations. Hence we become less vulnerable to those wishing to devise strategies to exploit us. Our minds have become devious and manipulative no matter how self-righteously we may be deluded to imagine otherwise. We have also been unavoidably confronted with the mysterious incomprehensibility and injustice of the natural world. The reassuring predictability of periodic patterns like lunar cycles and seasons are disrupted by random perturbations of destruction. Anthropomorphic 'gods' of unbounded magical and vindictive powers are often believed to be in control.

It should come as no surprise then that words are thus no less chaotic than existence itself. They just do not have unique time-independent exact meanings. Dictionaries can never really be much more than a temporal freeze-frame of the ambiguity of contemporary usage. Firstly, an absolute and unequivocal meaning is impossible whilst being obliged to be both precise and inclusive. It is an exercise in futility to attempt both detailed exactitude and a democratic inclusion of usage opinions. Secondly, words are always deemed to be fair game by vested interests. They steal words with their acquired connotations and utilize them in a context which is designed to serve themselves. Most of the daily usage of language relies on the ambiguity of the words being used. Writers, lawyers, politicians, publicity agents, sales-agents, actors, economists, journalists, cosmologists, the list goes on... all select their words with an acute awareness as to the multiplicity of their meaning.

Continuous word usage analysis is therefore a pragmatic necessity, in order to keep track of evolving mutations and ambiguities. Gardeners need to be aware for instance, whether or not their use of such words as 'green', 'sustainable', 'eco-friendly' and 'carbon-neutral', are even remotely connected to the same words uttered by political urban asphalt and concrete dwellers. As well as that, there are so many words which are bandied about with such pompous delusion as to the self-evidence of their meaning, that a continuing effort to confer some meaning on these words is one of the few defences against mindless propaganda. Consider only the mayhem, death and destruction that has been promoted and justified simply by the public rhetorical use of such words as god, truth, justice, al. As any egg knows, a word can be contrived to mean just about anything one wants. It is only necessary to set the stage and the expectations.