Words are not the World

All words lie that is their function they are the very absence of that which they would bring to presence in order to name existence!

It has also been expressed as the finger pointing at the moon!

It is not that words are wrong, just that they are not what we unthinkingly take them to be – they are not meaning itself!

This has been shown clearly by postmodern movements such as Deconstruction and for this necessary clarification we should be grateful. Grateful because now we, the pre-eminent culture of the word, can take the long (how long will it take?) farewell from words, of the Book of the Word and the history of thought based upon logic (Logos). This is a leave-taking of both Athens and Jerusalem, of the Graeco-Roman and Judeo-Christian tradition which founded this word and now world-culture. We must take leave of this word-world-culture otherwise we will waive this world to destruction through words.

It is not that this culture is wrong, just that this culture must learn to let go the fixation not only on words but also of words – for our European language would rather ‘thing’ the world, fix it with nouns, secure objects of substance for us to encounter, learn and then manipulate – when we should rather learn to live in a world of verbs, of action, of process, of a dynamic unfolding!

There is the world, there are words, but it is no longer possible to accept words as the world itself. Whatever is said, however foundational, inaugural, however deeply sedimented in our culture as the ‘Way, the Truth and the Light’, as ‘Truth, Beauty, Justice’, words are an artificial mirror of nature.

As has been shown repeatedly, as the living pulse of Deconstruction and much of the best of postmodern philosophy, word, concepts, theories – the paraphernalia of rational thought, of human reason, of all that we have appropriated to ourselves in and as our ownmost as human beings – are only representations by means of words and their associated development into ideas, of the world.

Words are not the world.

But what is there then left to say?

Silence?

 

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About Jamie Nicol

Living in the forested hills of Catalonia, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Zen teacher, recovering philosopher, small-scale natural farmer. Writing just what comes.
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