On Language: The Only Truth Worth Living For?

06Mar09

In which The Gay Recluse retires from metaphysics.

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We grow up and are given a set of words that we use to communicate: ideas, places, things, ppl.

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But as all of these things change — as they always do, thanks to the passage of time — words that once seemed perfect become inadequate to describe the new world in which we live.

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Thus we have a choice: we can suffer with old words or invent new ones. (In this sentence, words are a metaphor for words.)

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It should further be noted that the words we use or invent may or may not be applicable to anyone else.

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If I can describe the infinite pieces of my life in the most beautiful and accurate way possible, why should I care if you describe yours — which is infinitely different (or not)– in the same way? Moreover, why should I care if you take bits and pieces of my language to build yours? (Note to the litigious: we are not talking about copyright law here.)

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In this way, we may not agree, but we may not be in conflict, either.

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As long as guns are not involved, we should be able to live in peace: you will write your book, and I will write mine.


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7 Responses to “On Language: The Only Truth Worth Living For?”

  1. No. You don’t have to invent new words. It is a bad habit. It creates fashions first and blurred thinking later. Or do you maybe mean NOUNS? Names of things?

  2. Matt, sweetie–

    It’s called communication, and we DON’T want to give THAT up. Yes, it’s fallible and often off mark/course, but it’s all we have, word-wise. And when we do manage to make the connection in our writing that will open another’s eyes — whoopie!

    This must been have a depressing day for you. Don’t give in to it.

    Sure, “You write your book and Ill write mine” (Well, my reviews at least) but if we don’t read each opher, there’s little point. Of course, we can’t read everything. And there is so much shit out there in book/movie/blog-land. That, I think, is the real problem . But I guess that you are, as usual, being more metaphysical than I.

    PS: Did trying to find another word for “gay” set you off down this road?

    • Hey Jim — I didn’t see it so negatively, more like one person doesn’t have to be ‘right’ at the expense of another…

  3. 4 Colin

    I make up words all the time. Fuckin’ love it! my favorite is “tevs” for whatever. It’s the middle syllable.

  4. 5 Carla

    Amen.

  5. some people make up new languages, but it’s not always because there is some void or lack of expressiveness in our own language. i speak spanish, and the truth is that having “new” words (to me) to express some of the simplest concepts is a really neat thing. it certainly makes you think. ludaspeak is my made-up language, but it’s just for fun. :)

  6. 7 Kelly Keatng

    So, what is fascinating me about this post are the images of silver marks on Gorham flatware in part because I am a crazy collector of 19th century silver particularly several patterns by Gorham. But also, I’m interested Matt in the relation of the images to the text. Was it a random selection or something about naming, designating, signing? Or is it the juxtaposition of the concreteness of sterling or the materialness of the object- a piece of Gorham flatware- as opposed to the vagaries of language? Or am I making this up as I go along?


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