what language is FOR…

This post is very thought provoking. A paradigm, perspective kind of thing: how do we think about things. Personally I think it applies to just about everything creative: writing, of course, but indirectly also photography, scrapbooking, etc. Here’s my favorite quote out of it:

Some think [language] an inadequate means for capturing experience. But any failure in language here may lie in the belief that language’s purpose is to fix or arrest experience so that later we may extract its full effect, as if any experience is a known quantity of minnows to be scooped up in a net then salted and dried for later use. Suppose that isn’t how language works. Suppose we fiddle a bit with this belief about language’s inadequacies: Language is an inadequate means of creating experience. Now, de-negating it may not trouble us so much: Language is an adequate means of creating experience, perhaps even one of the most important means. Capturing … creating: Two different actions having two completely different intentions and effects. In the first case, language fails to pin down experience to our satisfaction. Very resonant in this belief — sometimes even more resonant than any surviving captured meaning itself — is an uneasy sense of loss, a feeling that something has escaped us. In the second case, language creates experience, which means it is experience. As with other kinds of experience we may have more or less satisfying adventures in language, but “capturing” experience is not the concern of language whose thrust is to create experience. The life-changing insights I experience reading the words of authors dead for decades or centuries occur as something that happens between their language and mine. Such “being with” authors can’t be canned, corralled, or controlled.

“An adequate means of creating experience.” I remember, as a young journal keeper, despairing because I couldn’t record everything, even if I wanted to. It seemed so hopeless. Thinking about it now in a different way…

It’s important for me to remember to engage more in my actual life sometimes, but I like this thought; it takes some of the creative pressure off, or at least places it differently.


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