Subjective and Objective

Those who have studied English might call this a “watershed”. As a carpenter and mountaineer I always objected to this term as imprecise because what is really meant is ridge or divide where water flows one way or the other. It is the difference between water dripping off the front or back of your house, between the tributaries of this or that river system, and also between I and me.

Science strives to be objective, to dissociate and float above in some dreamlike state and look down and say, “Wow, this is happening to me.” The subjective take would be, “I do (or not) like what is happening.”

With a bit of a musical ear I listen to random people talk. I love the inflection, syncopation and rhythm of speech. Yet Henry Higgins rises in me. I hear young folks saying it, I hear my kids saying it, I got this email today: “Please do not hesitate to contact Drea or I directly.”


“If you spoke as she does sir instead of the way you do, why you might be selling flowers too!”

Doggone kids just don’t seem to realize that when you are the object of a verb you are supposed to dissociate and float above in some dreamlike state, look down and say, “Me.”

On the other hand I’ve read the “Wives Tales” , Chaucer, rugged stuff memorable at this point mostly for scatological humor. “Ayhd sooner ear a horse fardt ayn the preacher…” Shakespeare and legalese are pieces of cake by comparison.

Language evolves and there is no stopping it, but water must drip from either the front or the back of your house. I worry this portends a loss of objectivity.

This entry was posted in Anthropology, Biology, History, Metaphor and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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