Monday, 9 May 2011
Language: The Universe's Way of Beating Around the Bush
What do you know about the ocean deep? Would you share its secrets with me, please? Would you inform me of its hidden caverns and flavoured colors secluded from prying eyes and absorbing cones? Can you describe the flow and glow of the electric eel? The buzzing brilliance of barreling bits? Or would you prefer I took my own look? Will your words suffice? Will mine?
Words. Are they anything more than a beat around the bush? We are infatuated with The Word. Everywhere I look, I see words. And dare I resist reading them, aloud, silently.
Language rewires the nervous system. There is nothing so powerful a distracter as language. Blessed animals, naïve, pure creatures, innocent, uncorrupted by the word. Occasionally asked to “sit!”, maybe, but still oblivious to the intricate and abstract relationship between assembled phonemes and their referents. What I would give for such freedom! But then again, what I wouldn’t.
Language is the universe’s way of beating around the bush. You want to know about the universe? Feel it. Touch it. Hear it. Breathe it. But talk about it? What sort of knowledge is that?
I’ll tell you. It is re-presentational knowledge. It is abstraction. It is a re-presentation of the world as is. It is a compression of the .universe format into .word – like compressing a .wav into an .mp3, but not nearly as effectively. Much more compact! Much easier to store! Much less overwhelming! But certainly, oh, how certainly deprived of true quality! Perhaps some are content with the word, with description, with abstraction. It most certainly takes the pressure off comprehending the entirety of Creation. But where does that leave us? Are we settling for second best? It is no wonder the Zen master refrains from too many words.
Words are tricks. They say to you – to me – “hey, look over here, and I’ll tell you what’s over there. But for the love of God, don’t look over there!” And why do they do that? For the sake of control. Words control us. Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. Bullshit. Nothing hurts more than words. They are the defacto power in our world. People are judged by the words they use, much more than the breath they breathe. Is this freedom? Is this equality? Is it fair to judge a man by his words? Or would we see more if we judged each other by the breath we breathe, by the love we radiate.
So let us agree to one thing: at least once, every, single, day, we should suspend our words. We should stop our outer dialogue, stop our inner dialogue. We should sit, silently, beneath the Bodhi tree, and Feel the great Being that Is. Don’t talk about it, don’t conceptualize it, don’t criticize it. Just feel it. Let it Be what it Is. And nothing else. And you will find yourself enormously refreshed. Like sipping back a cool glass of lemonade.
But there is something to be said for words, naturally, those soothsayers. They may be the universe’s way of beating around the bush, of hiding its true self, of disguising pure joy beneath a myriad of equations and persuasions, but they do partake of a particularly potent beauty. Let us not condemn them too far! For words are perhaps the only thing that can free us from themselves. Like fire burning a path through the flames. Words dance. And romance. And prance. And they may be the key to turning the Universe’s eye on itself – the key to the “Aha!”, to the great realization, that we are nothing more, nothing less, nothing but, It.
So tread lightly. Wield your words wisely. Remember their power. Be conscious of what they can do to others, and what they do to yourself. Do not let them get the best of you. And trust me, I know how wonderful you can be. So please, oh please, remember, there is more to you, to me, to our world, than words can say. There is the world. And the world will never succumb to the word.