Wednesday, October 7, 2009


"Believe" is a strange word. If you use it one way it means to know something with absolute certainty. Usually religious people use it this way, but on the flip side, it can be used to express uncertainty, as in responding with "I believe so." When you're talking about someone else, for some reason the word sounds like certainty, as in "He believes the world is round." It sounds the same as "He thinks the world is round." When someone says, "I believe the world is round" it sounds less certain, probably because they could more quickly say, "the world is round," and exhibit their certainty if they were certain.

To believe anything is an act of faith, some might say. It seems belief is held up as a virtue. Belief somehow makes miracles possible according to pop generic spirituality. I would say, true belief might make you see more things as though they were miracles if you chose to put complete trust in some concept.

Something else kind of funny is when there is an issue at hand where the truth of a matter could go either way and its one of those weighty important issues at the top of society's values list the word "believe" is joined by the word "in," rendering it less certain. But when somebody says they "believe in" something it's usually when they really claim to hold tight to some cherished idea. "I believe in a woman's right to chose." This is a less certain statement than "I believe my horoscope." I'm not talking about the validity of what is being believed here. I'm only talking about the way an individual talks about it.

So yeah. How often does a word have two definitions which are the complete opposite of each other? Not too often. I'm gonna try to think of some examples. Ok. So, I thought for a little while and examples elude me, but I did think of how people say "I'm up" to do something, and they also say "I'm down" for doing something. This is a similar kind of thing where two words that mean essentially the same thing when their literal meanings are opposite. I bet I can think of a few more of those. Give me a sec. Ok. "That's hot." "that's cool." There's a good example. There's probably a bunch more but I'm done writing for now. I'll see ya next time.

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