Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The words, the words...

While writing, I started to think of an idea from Merleau-Ponty. Merleau-Ponty was a semi-existentialist thinker whose insight was that no matter where we are or what we're doing we're bound to create meaning. We are meaning creating creatures. I exist, I look at the world, I formulate a response to it that's a personal judgment of meaning, whether I share this personal meaning with other people or not. The ego formulates both judgments and words. Words flow from judgments of meaning made by individuals in reference to some outside reality. To live, we not only have to judge but to formulate our ideas into words, and once our ideas are formulated into words we have the awareness that the words fail to capture the essence of what we wanted to communicate. So we're trapped trying to define and redefine the words we use, the thought that we participate in, in order to communicate the sort of purer sort of meaning and insight that we see when we judge things or form a judgment on the world.

The words are the sieve through which I try to communicate meaning. To me, words and expression in sentences and clumps of sentences is a game of chess, pitting myself and my want to express myself against the limitations of the language that I find myself in. The words themselves, in and of themselves, are nothing, and I don't mind experimenting with juxtapositions or formats that are unusual if they have the potential of cutting through some of the miasma and baggage that communication in writing necessarily presents one with.

Writing is different from speaking, as certain philosophers have elaborated ad nauseam, and I feel that writing is closer to the basic expression of meaning than speech is, because writing implies its audience within itself while speech in general has to be newly recreated over and over again.

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