We are very pleased to include the whimsical-yet-profoundpoetic exploration of what I call “The Tyranny of the Nouns!” by John Chase Schaeffer. Enjoy! Thanks, John!
ISes Don’t, And Nouns Are Not
By nonistJohn Schaeffer
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What does it DO? What makes it GO? That’s all we’re ever apt to know.
Show me an IS that doesn’t DO, I’ll show you how it isn’t, too.
‘Cause something IS as something DOES. It isn’t IS. And that’s because,
it does a “do”…. it goes a “go”. But what it IS we’ll never know.
To know a thing, find what it’s not. At least you’ll know what you ain’t got. And then some IS will not confuse, its function with the label used.
So Nouns are short-cuts, mere abstractions, substitutes for lots of actions. You’ll see, the more you think about the functions label-nouns leave out.
You call it this. I call it that. And thus are arguments begat. To abrogate this noun-compunction, focus on, and think of function.
Thus your mental maps will show reality ain’t IS, it’s flow. For thoughts to match the world “outside”, belief in IS must be denied.
To DO, or not to DO, ‘s the question. Think in verbs. That’s my suggestion. Then if you miss some labels’ meanings, you still’ve groked their inbetweenings.
‘Tis where the action all takes place, ‘twixt Nature and the Human Race.
Example: Last line’s ‘labels’ show, Man split from Nature. ‘T just ain’t so!
We’re part of IT. It’s all of us. So let’s not miss the cosmic bus.
‘Cause nouns like ‘cosmos’, ‘you’, and ‘me’ are more a DOES than IS !
Nouns aren’t the things you think they are. They’re just things’ names,
and on a par with people names, like Joe or Lee. A noun just names a
And nouns, though useful, all leave out the functions of what’s talked
about. Don’t get me wrong, I know we need ’em! Just have a care how your
brains read ’em!
Don’t think they’re real just because, they name a thing that ‘is’ or
‘was’. And don’t assume you know a noun, until you’ve got its function
I must digress a line or three, to iterate disparity, ‘twixt nouns that
BE and verbs which DO. I’d watch ’em close, if I were you.
You’ve read above how IS is not. That goes for WAS, BE, and the lot!
Those ‘being’ verbs too often marry, concepts which, in real life, vary.
Between two nouns an IS or BE insinuates identity. It makes us think in
terms of ‘same’, and differences are lost. For shame!
Alas, this loss leaves us deceived. For similarities perceived, are only
due, you have my word, to differences becoming blurred.
You’ll not be fooled if you but seek, the difference making each unique.
Misleading use of IS can’t fool someone from Doc C. Mantic’s school!
In point of fact, it’s often used to keep an audience confused, by
joining nouns which shouldn’t’a been. To stretch a point. To lie, or
“She is a nag.” “He is a nerd.” The psycho-baggage from the word, is
transferred to the subject, thus. Believing IS…. we miss the bus!
Now, as to nouns, it takes some thought to comprehend how nouns are not.
But once you see they don’t exist, feel free to use ’em. I insist!
“A noun’s a person, place, or thing.” That phrase should make alarm
bells ring. ‘Cause nouns can only represent, in language-form, some real
All real-life things don’t BE, they DO. And nouns all function that way
too. They sound so plain as they are said, then ricochet inside your head.
I know, at first it sounds bizarre. A tree’s a tree! A car’s a car! But
nouns are names. Don’t you confuse the real-stuff with the labels used!
We skip that step, and no one cares. “Okay,” you say, “you’re splitting
hairs! The name is not the thing. We know!” Darn easy to forget it, though!
| Read Robert Anton Wilson’s great essay,
“Toward an Understanding of ePrime”
here on our site
So Occam’s Razor notwithstanding, nouns subvert our understanding. Nouns
are short-cuts, actually, to cut out lots of verbs, y’see.
Now we can see through logic’s knot, how ISes don’t, and NOUNS are not.
With these two twins it takes some seeing t’watch nouns ‘act’ as verbs
But there you have it, plain as day. So don’t think all mixed up and
say, they “are” the same. ‘Cause now you’ve learned, the subtle
A thing is just a mass of functions, all nested so it clouds the
junctions. What at first seems just one unit, ‘s really lots of
functions doin’ it.
Believe in doing, not in being. That’s because believing’s seeing, ‘n
not the other way around! ‘Cause what one looks for shapes what’s found.
Nouns make you believe in things, like purple cows, and pigs with wings.
Belief can make y’see what ain’t! A UFO. A ghost. A Saint.
The quest for ‘fire’ was one of those. Men searched the flames and
ember-glows, for what it was that got released, when burning left a
Those scientists of yore discerned, “That stuff in everything that
burns, must be the same!”, and did insist on naming this hot stuff
Mystery was they couldn’t find it. Now we know the NOUN’s behind it!
Looking for the ‘thing’, they missed, the action function. They were pissed!
Imagine their exasperation, someone else found *oxidation*. Lighting up
my point precisely — Nouns mislead, where verbs serve nicely.
| More ePrime & General Semantics resources here on our site
They looked for what and not for how. Their search seems somewhat silly
now. They all believed their noun was real, but nouns are not. And
that’s the deal!
You pin ’em down — they wriggle out!
They got no tail! They got no snout!
You realize, on closer look, what they don’t say could fill a book!
See, nouns are not what they first seem. They’re like a ghost. They’re
but a dream. They may seem solid, but they’re not. Those nouns’ll fool
ya, slicker’n snot.
© 2017, John Chase Schaeffer. All rights reserved.
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Originally posted 2017-05-18 07:59:30.