Thursday, March 25, 2010

woods and words

One picture of the way words work is fence slats. You know, those
privacy fences. You walk or run by and you are aware of mainly of
these flat identical pieces of wood. How could that be like words?
Identical pieces of wood are like words? In a way words are like slat
of wood though, identical slats of wood. Because while there is a
small --what the philosphers call denotative value to words, (the
definitions, which you might say make words different) in fact words
have many other functions in the human economy, and these functions
--- maintaining a certain homeostatic stability in your psyche for
instance--- rely on aspects of words which are little observed or
analyzed. Words for instance function to insulate people, even
scientists, everybody in fact, beyond a certain age, from the actual
buzz and rush and constant motion of the world we share in. We could
not function if we paid attention to everything going on. What has
happened though (and Jan Cox discussed this a great length in his
books and papers) is that we have come to take words as if THEY were
the reality. Assuming words are reality is like eating a cereal box
for breakfast. You are missing the real fun of life. So when I say
words are like slats in a fence, it is to point out that between they
slats, if you can slow down, between the slats you get a glimpse of a
world you have forgotten, of color and light and wonder. Between the
words. Learning to look between the words is actually very difficult
and can take years, although some folks get a blessed glimpse
accidentally and this spurs them on investigate these events and
strive to make them reoccur. That at least is the way it seems in the
beginning. For everyone.