Words are symbolic indications and/or conveyors of meaning and are not that meaning in themselves.
Meaning is found, stored, and manipulated in our minds. This is why different languages are capable, in varying degrees of usefulness, to convey meaning which is very similar to that found via the symbols of any other.
It It is also the reason why there are words indicating meaning that are not found in other languages; or, if found in a different language, the other language requires more of its own structure, dynamics, and resonance to convey the same meaning.
For example: the words ‘déjà vu’ in French are found in German ‘schon gesehen’ and in English ‘already seen’, but these phrases do not convey the full meaning found in the French version. To counter this deficit, their meaning in other languages must be ‘constructed’ out of or ‘fortified’ by the careful use of longer strings of symbols. This additional construction and/or fortification may even fail at times. This is often where the word phrase from a different language is simply added to the language in which the concept is missing.
This same situation is found in the literature of many languages. The words used to convey meaning are condensed and may contain more meaning than is usually the case. In this regard, even the person reading/hearing the words may not possess the competence necessary to catch this condensed meaning in its fullness.
Mathematical expressions, albeit more precise, are also indications of meaning. They are more robust in their formulation, but at ever-increasing depth or scope, even they may fail to reliably or conveniently convey meaning.
Our understanding of what words mean is not always accurate, but where our mutual understanding of the meaning of words overlaps, and the degree to which they overlap, is where their meaning can be shared.
Our own personal understanding of words is measured by our ability to apply their meaning in our lives.
There is also a false meme, which I would like to clarify.
“Knowledge is Power!”
It is wrongly said that ‘Knowledge is power’. The truth is another: Knowledge is the measure of usefulness of what we understand and is the only true expression of its ‘power’.
The value of Knowledge is found in its usefulness and not in its possession.
Is Mathematics Or Philosophy More Fundamental?
Answer: Philosophy is more fundamental than mathematics.
This is changing, but mathematics is incapable at this time of comprehensively describing epistemology, whereas, philosophy can.
Hence; mathematics is restrained to pure ontology. It does not reach far enough into the universe to distinguish anything other than ontologies. This will change soon. I am working on exactly this problem. See http://mathematica-universalis.com for more information on my work. (I’m not selling anything on this site.)
Also, mathematics cannot be done without expressing some kind of philosophy to underlie any axioms which it needs to function.
Implication is a ‘given’ in mathematics. It assumes a relation which we call implication. Mathematics certainly ‘consumes’ them as a means to create inferences, but the inference form, the antecedent, and the consequent are implicit axioms based upon an underlying metaphysics.
Ergo: philosophy is more general and universal than mathematics.
Often epistemology is considered separate from metaphysics, but that is incorrect, because you cannot answer questions as to ‘How do we know?” without an underlying metaphysical framework within which such a question and answer can be considered.
Physics is only complex, because it’s in someone’s interest to have it that way. The way to understanding, even if you don’t understand science, was paved with words. Even if those words led only to a symbolic form of understanding.
I’m a mathematician and can tell you that common ordinary language is quite capable of explaining physics. Mathematics is simply more precise than common language. It pays the price for that precision by being subservient to the causal and compositional relations. These are limitations that metaphysics and philosophy do not have.
Words in language have a structure that mathematics alone will never see as it looks for their structure and dynamics in the wrong places and in the wrong ways. Pure mathematics lacks an underlying expression of inherent purpose in its ‘tool set’.
With natural language we are even able to cross the ‘event horizon’ into interiority (where unity makes its journey through the non-dual into the causal realm). It is a place where mathematics may also ‘visit’ and investigate, but only with some metaphysical foundation to navigate with. The ‘landscape’ is very different there… where even time and space ‘behave’ (manifest) differently. Yet common language can take us there! Why? It’s made of the ‘right stuff’!
The monological gaze with its incipient ontological foundation, as found in pure mathematics, is too myopic. That’s why languages such as category theory, although subtle and general in nature, even lose their way. They can tell us how we got there, but none can tell us why we wanted to get there in the first place!
It’s easy to expose modern corporate science’s (mainstream) limitations with this limited tool set – you need simply ask questions like: “What in my methodology inherently expresses why am I looking in here?” (what purpose) or “What assumptions am I making that I’m not even aware of?” or “Why does it choose to do that? and you’re already there where ontology falls flat on its face.
Even questions like these are met with disdain, intolerance and ridicule (the shadow knows it can’t see and wills to banish what it cannot)! And that’s where science begins to resemble religion (psyence).
Those are also some of the reasons why philosophers and philosophy have almost disappeared from the mainstream. I’ll give you a few philosophical hints to pique your interest.
Why do they call it Chaos Theory and not Cosmos Theory?
Why coincidence and not synchronicity?
Why entropy and not centropy?
Why particle and not field?
(many more examples…)