Thursday, April 23, 2015

The imperceived insult

I've noticed I've veered too far into ranting and away from the balance of rant and philosophical explorations.

So here is one thought:

If an insult is not understood, not perceived, then how is it an insult?

I was walking down the street in Rzeszow Poland, and this young guy leans out of a car and says something at me. His friends all laugh and they drive on.

I look at them confused, and then walk on.

He spoke in Polish and said something to me. He understood what it meant and what it might mean to the listener.

From the other side, I was hearing something that sounded little more than mumbling.  There was no comprehension.  From the context, his friends laughing, the fact he was saying something on the move and I couldn't respond, he was directing it at me the only person on the street,  I can only guess that was what he was doing.

I had no reaction.  I didn't know what to do.

Even if he had called me a dirty drunken foreigner, or a retard, or a mother fucker, or something understandable, then at least I could understand the intent of the communication.

In any case I would have smiled and waved. Instead I did nothing but stare because I couldn't tell what was an appropriate response. If one was needed.

But would it be an insult?

To be something, it must have all the properties that match up to the cognitive synonym - that's a fancy way of saying an understood comparable. Apple to apple and so on.

A bird is a bird because it flies.

But an insult without comprehension is not an insult.