23 September 2016

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: What makes a bastard? + News

Dear Friends,

This Saturday we are discussing; what makes a bastard?

As a question it might seem like one that belongs to some other
discipline, but in my short essay I argue that this language is a
synchronised function between our natural emotions and aggression with
language by channelling our aggressive emotions to linguistic behaviour
that can quite as easily convey the sting of retaliation.

In the meantime I'm including a link for details about the next visits
to the British Cemetery in Madrid

Visits to the British Cemetery Madrid

What makes a bastard?

When we use the word bastard to insult someone or describe some in an
insulting manner we are in effect expressing an emotional outburst
against someone who has done us harm, or maybe even just intended to
cause us harm.

What is interesting and curious for us is how we develop and evolve
natural languages to meet our aggressive emotional outbursts without
having to use physical force. Words like bastard can serve as
retaliatory reaction to harm done and, of course, as offensive language
to agitate the situation and the opponent.

In English the word itself is quite offensive but not one of the most
offensive expressions. The benefit of this is that it makes the word
common without exceeding the limits of decency. The other advantage of
the word is that we use it to release our anger without even the culprit
knowing of the fact that we used the word bastard against them. But even
still it is not a standard vocabulary to be used in polite society.

In particular we would use the word bastard to describe someone who has
unjustifiable done some minor harm to us, not necessarily physical harm,
but more psychological harm. But the harm done in not serious enough to
demand a physical reaction. Even still, the use of the word bastard is
not without its risks; some can easily react violently.

Of course, the etymology of the word "bastard" is a legal term to mean
born out of wedlock and until well into the 20th century being called a
bastard was a real insult and a taboo. And although today we use the
word as a male gender word, in the original legal term it applied to
both males and females. But the female equivalent of the word bastard as
an insult, ie bitch, it is not the female equivalent of bastard.

The female word "bitch" is not used as much as the male insult, although
it is used in common language. This might be explained by arguing that
males, at least in the past, tended to be more aggressive towards each
other and more retaliatory when aggrieved. But when "bitch" is used it
is used in the same context and with the same aggression as the male word.

So what makes a bastard? Indeed what we are asking is why people behave
in an unsocial manner? Why people behave aggressively in society? At a
certain level these are questions that are best answered by
psychiatrists and neurologists. And understanding the use of the world
bastard in a social context is also a matter for anthropologists and
sociologists. But this does not mean that there aren't philosophical
issues: as I have already said we evolve language to cope with our
emotional needs and physical limitations. Calling someone a bastard
might be much safer that throwing punch at someone who has already
proven they are aggressive and unsocial.

In wider context the word bastard represents a language that is, in a
way, an extension of our aggression and ability to retaliate when hurt
by someone. With this language we can do psychological harm to others
which probably linger much longer that a punch in the face.

And, therefore, like weapons and armaments we have also developed a
whole environment regulating the use, the context and the social
grouping of this language. And the idea that the word bastard exploited
a serious taboo in the past, the use of these words has itself become a
somewhat of a taboo.

But after all is said and done, the use of insults will still be part of
our language behaviour.



tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: What makes a
bastard? + News

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