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Degraded Words

The word “PROMISE” has become most degraded by having two unrelated uses become popular and in competition. Promise at one time meant one's commitment and agreement to bind oneself to future action. In a contract, the formula may be mutual promises with some consideration of a promise followed by reliance or action accepting the promise. But recently, we may notice wide use in the media of the word “promise” meaning more or less “I swear” or I stand by a representation, but having nothing to do with binding oneself to action or an obligation.

Similarly the word “DREAM” has become degraded. Many of us speak of our dreams and nightmares and the famous dream of the Pharaoh interpreted by Joseph leading to the exodus. Such dreams represent the activities of the mind during rem sleep. But otherwise, Dream has come to mean as one's wish for the future and a willed wish for something good to happen, but which has nothing to do with unconscious dreams during REM sleep.

Even the word and verb “Sanctions” has historically been split in terms of near opposite meanings. One may say that he “sanctions” or permits certain activities to take place. But to apply sanctions is to punish another as a penalty for having engaged in certain discouraged or prohibited activities such as punish Russia for having invaded and taken over Crimea in 2014.