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Explanatory Note: The Generic “Man”

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Explanatory Note:

The Generic “Man”

 

In previous publications the following sentence: “Man - a term used to denote an individual (male or female) of the human race” was included to explain the use of this word throughout. However, recent comments on the sexist language led to the decision to elaborate much more on the subject of the use of the generic “man,” “he,” and “his” in this book.

 

In the Bulgarian language, there are different words for a human being. Chovek is used for Homo sapiens regardless of gender, mazh - for a male and zhena - for a female. When Peter Deunov became the Enlightened spiritual teacher Beinsa Douno and spoke the Word of Wisdom, he often used chovek to address any human being; and because this word is in the masculine form, it led to the use of gender specific words like toy (he) and negov (his) throughout his lectures in case of substitutions. However, in English the word “man” is used with both meanings: as a generic term for Homo sapiens and as a term denoting an adult male. This has led to many controversial discussions regarding how to avoid the use of a word which could be considered sexist by some readers. Our purpose is to keep the language as close as possible to the original, but at the same time to make clear what is the exact meaning in order to avoid confusion.

 

In Garner’s Modern American Usage, University Press, Oxford, 2003, Bryan A. Garner writes on page 717, “But does avoiding sexism mean resorting to awkward devices such as he/she? Surely not, because that too would distract many readers. What you should strive for instead - f you want readers to focus on your ideas and not on the political subtext - is a style that does not even hint at the issue.” And further on: “The traditional approach has been to use the masculine pronouns he and him to cover all people, male and female alike.”

 

In a similar line of thinking, we decided to include this note as an explanation in the hope that the readers will focus on the meaning and depth of the Message brought by the Master Beinsa Douno, rather than being distracted by the form of some words. We replaced in many places, where appropriate, man with person, someone, one, individual, but this was not always possible to do without changing the meaning of the Word spoken by the Master. Therefore, except where we specifically describe a female person, the generic masculine pronoun is mainly used throughout the book to include both sexes. In a similar manner: “Brothers of Light” refers to Beings of sublime consciousness and “Brotherhood,” to Fellowship of brothers and sisters in a spiritual community or to people living in a fraternal way in love and harmony.

 

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