The Meaning of Words

By Carlos Buby

The advent of the worldwide web brought to modern man a new concept about the art of communication. In primitive time, oral transmission was restricted to those who inhabited the same village. The nomadic lifestyle, each time more fragmented by the dispersion of community consciousness, made way for great ethnic concentrations and the formation of customs and hermetic traditions. With the advance of maritime navigation, came the beginning of a large intercontinental exchange of people. The first signs of interbreeding arose and, just like a primitive form of globalization, made possible important exchanges for the evolution of human relations and the socio-cultural development of all humanity. I don’t wish to enter into the ethical merit of the methods used to create these exchanges, nor judge their moral standards. I intend only to demonstrate that the cultural mixtures also are capable of influencing or altering the meaning of words.

This means that all mechanisms of communication, however efficient they may be, such as the Worldwide Web, will depend, above all, on the philosophical accuracy contained in the migrating words. Dutch words appearing in the northeast of Brazil, African words being used in Cuba are some examples of dialectic miscegenation. A population, of diverse origins, such as the one we find in the Umbanda practiced by Templo Guaracy, must be attentive to the different interpretations given to each term utilized in its liturgy. For this reason, we decided to begin our monthly meetings with a basic theme: the meaning of words as adapted and interpreted by Templo Guaracy.

“Load your canoe with the offerings of the world,
the time is all yours, but the River does not wait.”
Carlos Buby