December 09, 2004

Sticks and Stones

I am getting tired of looking for something. Again. That is usually a cause to despair, right? When one doesn't want to search for anything, when there is nothing at all that one reaches for or out to, even if it is right here in the present. Writing is a difficult task. Writing to someone is an even more difficult task. Writing to someone clearly and communicating one's experience with some degree of accuracy is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks we face with language, especially if that person is someone whom we care about, trust, believe in as a friend, family member, or lover; a fellow human being. What I won't talk about is speaking. Speaking is too difficult too mention, but when we get to the base of it all, the only way we can say whether or not we love or are loved is through the words we share, inflict, suffer, offer, enjoy, sacrifice, etc. in the company of each other. Who says there are too many words to understand what we say to each other? If we are deluded into thinking that this life is an evolving set of stairs that progresses from confusion and mystery to the clarity and robustness of a fully autonomous individual--one who has no need to be humble or grateful for another person's voice--than that is probably a sign that our words are being abused and contorted in most uncreative and unnecessary ways. Our language is devolving as science evolves--it is turning back against itself to retract what it originally wanted to say or do, so that our words, like the machines we have invented, often malfunction against us, with the potential to kill us. Perhaps nothing has changed in the longer run of language's evolution. Perhaps it will always be like this, and I am getting close to taking out that "perhaps." Sure, there are many English words and expressions---or in fact the whole face of the language--that are not the same as they were 600 years ago, but have we been able to overcome the distrangement from our world that our own symbols effect upon our lives? This entry has nothing to do with being in Japan, I just realized that, but in some way it is only about being here in this chair, sitting at the computer, not wanting to teach my last class of the day.


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