Home/ Tom Allen Compare Quotes

Compare 05/30/2019

Thursday, May 30, 2019    

It may be observed that the English language is not a system of logic, that its vocabulary has not developed in correlation with generations of straight thinkers, that we cannot impose upon it something preconceived as an ideal of scientific method and expect to come out with anything more systematic and more clarifying than what we start with: what we start with is an inchoate heterogeneous conglomerate that retains the indestructible bones of innumerable tries at orderly communication, and our definitions as a body are bound to reflect this situation.
  --Philip Babcock Gove, lexicographer (1902-1972)

(0:0.2) It is exceedingly difficult to present enlarged concepts and advanced truth, in our endeavor to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception, when we are restricted to the use of a circumscribed language of the realm. But our mandate admonishes us to make every effort to convey our meanings by using the word symbols of the English tongue. We have been instructed to introduce new terms only when the concept to be portrayed finds no terminology in English which can be employed to convey such a new concept partially or even with more or less distortion of meaning.

 

(2:0.3) In all our efforts to enlarge and spiritualize the human concept of God, we are tremendously handicapped by the limited capacity of the mortal mind. We are also seriously handicapped in the execution of our assignment by the limitations of language and by the poverty of material which can be utilized for purposes of illustration or comparison in our efforts to portray divine values and to present spiritual meanings to the finite, mortal mind of man. All our efforts to enlarge the human concept of God would be well-nigh futile except for the fact that the mortal mind is indwelt by the bestowed Adjuster of the Universal Father and is pervaded by the Truth Spirit of the Creator Son. Depending, therefore, on the presence of these divine spirits within the heart of man for assistance in the enlargement of the concept of God, I cheerfully undertake the execution of my mandate to attempt the further portrayal of the nature of God to the mind of man.

(0:12.13) We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; we recognize the impossibility of fully translating the language of the concepts of divinity and eternity into the symbols of the language of the finite concepts of the mortal mind. But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth; and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings.

(42:2.1) It is indeed difficult to find suitable words in the English language whereby to designate and wherewith to describe the various levels of force and energy—physical, mindal, or spiritual. These narratives cannot altogether follow your accepted definitions of force, energy, and power. There is such paucity of language that we must use these terms in multiple meanings. In this paper, for example, the word energy is used to denote all phases and forms of phenomenal motion, action, and potential, while force is applied to the pregravity, and power to the postgravity, stages of energy.

(44:0.20) But I almost despair of being able to convey to the material mind the nature of the work of the celestial artisans. I am under the necessity of constantly perverting thought and distorting language in an effort to unfold to the mortal mind the reality of these morontia transactions and near-spirit phenomena. Your comprehension is incapable of grasping, and your language is inadequate for conveying, the meaning, value, and relationship of these semispirit activities. And I proceed with this effort to enlighten the human mind concerning these realities with the full understanding of the utter impossibility of my being very successful in such an undertaking.


     Philip Babcock Gove (1902–1972) was an American lexicographer who was editor-in-chief of the Webster's Third New International Dictionary, published in 1961.
     Born in Concord, New Hampshire, he received his A.B. from Dartmouth College, his A.M. from Harvard University, his Ph.D. from Columbia University, and his D.Litt. from Dartmouth. He started working for the G. and C. Merriam Company in 1946. Gove was managing editor of Webster's Third from 1950 to 1952, general editor from 1952 to 1960, and editor-in-chief from 1960 until his retirement.


comments powered by Disqus
Previously Posted Comments