According to the Dictionary (2)

I would like to discuss “abstract” and “concrete” concepts a bit more thoroughly, since that seems to be the cause of confusion as some people oppose “concept” to “concrete”.
However, the opposite of “concrete” is “abstract” and a concept is just one form of abstract.

Concrete objects are objects we can touch, see or otherwise observe and that tend to be agreed upon by all (human) observers as being the same. Thus, a dog is a dog and not a cat.
The word “dog” or the word “cat” is not an object, but it is a descriptive concept of a tangible object.
A concept is by definition not tangible – it is abstract – but if it describes something tangible it can be taken literally and becomes a literal concept. But “cat” is a different word than “gato” and different than “chat” and yet they all indicate the same object, so that word-concepts are dependent on a pre-agreed language.
The same applies to other descriptive symbols, like musical notes or mathematical concepts – we have agreed to use “+” to indicate addition, but that doesn’t make it a tangible object. It is an abstract object that nonetheless indicates a precisely described meaning.
The same applies to “bachelor” – the always preferred example of philosophers. “Bachelor” is a word, no more, but it describes a male in a very specific social role and therefore can be objectively agreed about. Yet in a society that doesn’t accept marriage as an institution, it would be meaningless. Words are subject to change: Unmarried men will still exist even if we start using the word “bachelor” for unmarried women and assign unmarried men the title “available”.
A typical English example of such a word is “ceiling” that used to mean the floor you stood on, was later used for wall covering and is today meant to indicate the top of a room.

The above are all examples of what I called “concrete concepts”.
But there are also “abstract concepts”, which are concepts that refer to something that is neither a tangible object nor an exact descriptive or literal expression of a pre-agreed meaning. Everybody thinks they know what these words mean, but there is nothing we can compare them to and we cannot draw or describe them in any manner exactly, because the reason we ‘know’ what they mean is that it ‘feels’ correct. We are often astounded when we are confronted with somebody who gives a completely different meaning to an abstract concept than what we always took for granted. These are the words I am describing in this series – words like “truth”, “just”, “good”, “beauty”, “real”, “possible”, “reasonable”, “fair” and so on. These abstracts are not conceptual abstract (words or symbols based on a pre-agreed meaning), but perceptual abstracts that go deeper than verbal or written communication.

So, what I have called “concrete concepts” is possible better labelled as “conceptual abstracts”, and what I called “abstract concepts” are better termed “perceptual abstracts”, because they completely depend on your intuitions, senses and feelings (perceptions) and are therefore subjective.

Let me emphasize again that there is no right or wrong in interpreting these abstract words, exactly because we do not all do it in the same way and cannot compare to any objective standard. I accept that there could be some cultural influence, but I believe that the greatest common differences in how we interpret these words comes from the personality type we are born with – and thus the way we have dealt with our environment from birth.
Of course, after some contemplation, we may acknowledge one of the other interpretations, but we all tend to have one ‘gut’ feeling about their meaning.

Remember when you read the following three words that have been the object of endless debates and disagreements for as long as two millennia at least, that our personality type is a complex dynamic of the four aspects.

justification: an explanation, motivation or reason to support a belief or action:
o an objective motivation (E, S, T and J)
o a personal motivation (I, N, F and P)
o reasons can be found in the laws of nature: a truth (T)
o reasons can be found in human nature: a value (F)

true: a principle of knowledge considered accurate:
o in accord with objective (empirical) facts (E)
o truthful to one’s inner perspective or inner judge (I)
o in accord with tangible reality (S)
o in accord with reality as perceived beyond the observable (N)
o in accord with logical truth-tests (logically valid) (T)
o in accord with sincere motivation or care (F)

o an opinion about the world that needs justification and that may be false (T)
o a conviction; something that motivates one’s existence (F)
o accepting something that cannot be observed and may therefore not be real (E)
o accepting something on the basis of one’s personal perspective or inner perceptions (I)

Again, I would be happy with your responses and grateful if you can also give me your typename.


According to the Dictionary (1)

I have discussed the interpretation of abstract terminology (what I call “soap-bubble words”) many times before. Over and over again, the biggest problem in any discussion is the difference in how people interpret these words – and then get angry if somebody else doesn’t “get it” or “deliberately confuses the terms”.
I have been in a lot of heated discussions (on LinkedIn) lately, and most either fizzle out, because people get tired of repeating the same thing over and over again or are deliberately abandoned due to such negative responses.
I try always to give the last polite answer, but being called stupid does not always make that easy, yet I understand why people say these things and why these disagreements happen, have always happened and will continue to do so.

So why, you may ask, do I still engage in them and why am I writing this post?
Probably, because something deep inside me still hopes that we might accept the natural differences that cause us to interpret abstracts the way we do – all differently according to the perspective that comes from our inborn personality.

The basic premise of all my work – my books (fiction and non-fiction), my blog posts (for Judgment Hurts and for Nōnen Tίti) and all my articles and discussions – is that people come in sixteen different inborn psychological varieties (those described by Jung and Myers-Briggs), that these are an evolutionary necessity without which humanity would have not reached the level of civilization it has, and that these inborn differences influence everything, including how a person interprets abstract words.
Of the four pairs of letters, one of each pair represents an objective perspective and the other a relative perspective, so that some people, by their very nature, have more trouble accepting these different interpretations and are therefore more likely to call others “wrong”.
The problem is that written/verbal language is but one aspect of human communication and it cannot explain that what touches people on a deeper level, which is usually based on sensory or intuitive experiences, and which causes people to attach different subliminal meanings to these words. Some abstract words are simply ambiguous, but for others the different interpretations can be matched to the typename letters.
So I decided to make a series of posts, named According to the Dictionary, because this is what many people refer to when the above mentioned disagreements happen. Yet the dictionary is equally limited when it comes to subliminal meaning, so that most are either described with multiple options or are tautological, as the following extract – of which the definitions are direct quotes from the Merriam Webster – may demonstrate:

During the rest of that class, and since I’m still refusing to participate, I work on the essay for Mr Fokker. That isn’t as easy as it seemed at first. I start with a question: Should stupid rules be obeyed?
First I have to define the word ‘stupid’. Mr Shriver’s big classroom dictionary, which has a faded cloth cover and looks as if it’s been used forever, defines “stupid” as:
1. marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting
2. lacking intelligence or reason
3. lacking in understanding or common sense
I write this down, but I’ll have to clarify, so I find that “unreasoned” means “not founded on reason”, which is in turn defined as “using the faculty of reason” also known as “thinking” and which thus doesn’t help me one little bit.
“Thinking”, according to the dictionary, is “the action of using one’s mind to produce thoughts” …Duh! (
In the Real World)

So, I will use this series to discuss a few words at the time, using extracts from the glossary of Concerto for Mankind, where the discussed words are interpreted as closely as possible to the ‘sense’ the different types get with this word. More detailed discussions about the why and how of these differences can be found in Chapter Five of the book and the bracketed numbers indicate in which particular “Minutes” therein they are discussed.
I have done my best to acknowledge the predominant value of each word for each typename letter, but remember that each is still my interpretation based on what I have learned from countless discussions with countless people over the years because nobody can get around their own psychological make-up, and also remember that a person is a combination of their typename letters so that depending on the other letters it may feel more or less accurate to you.
I am always interested in your responses. If you already know your psychological type, please let me know if it rings ‘true’ for you or if I could have phrased it differently. If this is new to you, I would like you to explain why you would or would not agree with some of the descriptions – without getting angry, since we need to start realizing our innate differences before we can stop fighting over our beliefs.

So from the glossary:
o not considered objectively; a “mere” opinion (E)
o single-minded, ignoring the unique viewpoint of other individuals (I)
o based on personal feelings and not reason; inconsistent (T)
o measuring by one (favoured) standard; inconsiderate (F)
o random; ignores moral or legal rules (J)
o a social authority that acts without consent from the autonomous person (P)