A Pointless Lexicon


In this lexicon, a pointless word is defined as a unit of language that—although not meaningless in it self—has a meaningless definition.

E.g. the word, or rather the compound, inner self is not meaningless in the sense that it has a no definition; however, that definition is vacuous, rendering the compound pointless. That is to say, there is no need to assume that there is such a thing, other than the fact that there is a word for it. A unit of language conveys meaning, and this is bewitching—as Ludwig Wittgenstein would say—for meaning engenders a certain significance. Again, consider Wittgenstein, “Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.”

“Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

  • dogma, a meaningless statement considered to be true, regardless of evidence.
  • fate, the false impression that everything that happens was meant to happen.
  • honour, the veneration of mindless devotion.
  • karma, the delusion of that which goes around will eventually come around.
  • luck, the name given to the inconceivability of the improbable.

“Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it so that the other half may reach you.” – Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

Advertisements

How the Churches Have Retarded Progress


‘You may think that I am going too far when I say that that[1] is still so. I do not think that I am. Take one fact. You will bear with me if I mention it. It is not a pleasant fact, but the churches compel one to mention facts that are not pleasant. Supposing that in this world that we live in today an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, “This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together. And if you stay together, you must not use birth control to prevent the birth of syphilitic children.” Nobody whose natural sympathies have not been warped by dogma, or whose moral nature was not absolutely dead to all sense of suffering, could maintain that it is right and proper that that state of things should continue.

That is only an example. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world, because it has chosen to label as morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness; and when you say that this or that ought to be done because it would make for human happiness, they think that has nothing to do with the matter at all. “What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy.”‘

– Denonn. L.E., Egner. R.E. Ed. 1961. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell London, United Kingdom: George Allen & Unwin (1962) p. 596


[1] ‘I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.’ p. 595

Bertrand Russell delivered the lecture Why I am not a Christian (of which this is an excerpt) on March 6, 1927 to the National Secular Society, South London Branch, at Battersea Town Hall.