The an example for this with Buddhism

The complexity of knowledge and content found in the world today is a mess itself, especially with the world wide web. Many different answers given to the same and with this the definitions get blurry, easy topics get to complex with many examples, this is one of the topics David Weinberger talks about in Chapter 9 of his book `Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder`. He observes the behavior and reaction people have with certain subject. With the knowledge we have nowadays, it may be better to not define certain subjects, define overall important terms and find the so called prototype example to describe it.


Once we talk about topics that reach people on an emotional and spiritual level, it is better to not reduce it to one definition. Such an example is Religion, it is something that leaves an range of interpretation for every single person and each and every one may have their own definition. This definition may be completely wrong to somebody else and vice versa. Weinberger gives an example for this with Buddhism and quotes Eleanor Rosch, a psychology professor, who is talking about an Buddhist transmission “Attendees keep asking,` Wouldn’t it help if you first defined Buddhism? ´… “No one could define Buddhism, but no one had the least doubt about what the conference was about.”. (183,184). This not only shows that it’s very difficult to define something like this. Furthermore it shows that just by the name people knew what the conference was about.  T subject may be limited to the religion it is and the history but many had their own definition, which may not agree with another one. If one would have set an definition, which to him seemed totally perfect, others may drift away because it does not cooperate with their personal definition. This hints at why definitions can vary so there isn’t an definite definition that fits with everybody and certain things are better left undefined.

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Topics that should not and can’t really be defined are the total opposite than topics that need to be defined and this definition has to be strict all over the world. Definitions are often one or two sentence that give an overall look on the subject. Given that the subject is diagnostics as a medial term, which is defined as “the discipline or practice of diagnosis”1. This definition will to a high percentage be the same all over the world. This is important because the help, communication and work that needs to be done together in the medical field need to be cooperative otherwise it won’t help anybody. In addition almost every medical term is defined the same in every language because it is an overall term, nothing to philosophy about. These words need to be strict and not leave anything to the imagination.



With the topic on when the definition has to be strict out of the way, we have to think about what to give as an example to an definition because sometimes it can be quiet messy to different cultures to talk about the same topic when everybody means something else. The perfect German example is bread.  Almost anybody in Germany knows bread as food made out of wheat, water, yeast. Switching countries now people in Sweden have a very different bread when Germans to but still its bread for them. In Sweden bread is often very sweet and just not the same. Furthermore going to America, Germans will most likely have a hard time finding bread like it’s supposed to be made by definition then, because they just don’t have the bread like it’s made in Germany. But this doesn’t mean it’s wrong it just their prototype of bread. Weinberger talks about this while comparing what Americans and Germans connect with furniture. “… prototypes are culturally relative. Research shows that for Americans, the best example …are chairs and sofas, while Germans think beds and tables… ” (187). This indicates that a definition needs examples and with that prototypes because otherwise people can actually think they are talking about the same thing but they are not. These examples may be easy ones but if people start talking about politics, war and more stronger topics, there needs to be a definition and a prototype that is named otherwise it could become a mess. This can become also very dangerous if you start talking about something on vacation and the people there understand something under this topic. To avoid this mess there needs to be a named prototype when talking about it.


Given that there are many million words and topics in the world nowadays, that almost everybody has access to on the internet we have to be more than careful than ever about using the right word because if you don’t know the definition or meaning it can backfire in many ways.

1 Diagnostics | Define Diagnostics at Dictionary.Com,