Reification

When putting a name to something makes it seem like a real phenomenon.

It is a symptom of the complete reversion of the understanding of reality going on as a part of symbolic communication taking over as the dominant form of meaning creation.

It is exactly what, at least according to Alan Watts, the word Maya refers to: confusing the symbols with the things, confusing the measures with the things being measured, confusing the description of an object with its materiality.

The rule is:

Just because a phenomenon has a name, it doesn’t mean it is real.

Hope it didn’t escape you the situational irony of the fact that I’m doing Reification right now. The point is that the proliferation of this phenomenon calls for a heightened critical attitude towards information. Reification is particularly prominent in pop science and intellectual publications. In some cases, it is used as a form of language manipulation: by casting a known phenomenon with a new term, people exposed to that term are left confused about its nature and call to question their assumptions, even about things that they used to take as common sense. This can be, of course, good, but it has recently been overused.

Before the social media age, this was a popular strategy used by cults, political parties and other groups with a vested interest on creating a distorted worldview for their members that would improve the chances of them staying in the group.

Today, Reification is just another form of clickbait.

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