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This thought is directed at those who have an interest in the deeper meaning of language and how it connects to our perspective of reality. Perhaps a bit philosophical. If this is not the proper place, I apologize.

These words seem to have two different and even totally opposite meanings: Matter and substance.

On the one hand, matter and substance refer to the physical, objective aspect of reality. The way things are.

On the other hands, matter and substance refer to the spirit or subjective aspect of reality. The way things could or ought to be. ("What really matters". "Something of substance".)

How is it that these paradoxical ideas are contained in the same word? Wouldn't it make more sense to have different words for two ideas that seem diametrically opposed to each other and mutually exclusive.

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My quasi-answer is too long for a comment. Your underlying assumptions reflect a certain philosophy, Platonism (with some Kantian flavoring), so having a firm grasp of schools of philosophy would help. From that perspective, the "two meanings" that you discern are examples of metaphor. The premise that "X fact about language would make more sense" makes sense only if you assert an untruth about language, that we should use exactly one word to describe exactly one concept. Since language manifestly doesn't work that way, it makes no sense to demand that humans be other than how they actually are. I suggest investigating the history (in philosophy) of reality versus appearances.

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