Initiating a conversation is not always a matter of holding an idea inside of your mind and then releasing that idea into someone else’s mind for a shared time. Sometimes a conversation with its topic and type of participants is already there in the atmosphere, latent and easily brought to the forefront of our minds. It was in this second sense of conversations that I wrote an early little essay in my blog called On Conversations. The words and the ideas were already there and just waiting to be spoken. Someone or something had cracked the code of what people wanted to start talking about but couldn’t quite find the right avenue or opportunity to begin. And then all of the sudden it hits like an EMP, electrifying a crowd of people, and suddenly even timid individuals are transformed into loud-mouths.Continue reading “More on Conversations”
We should not use ‘belief’ loosely, as if certain statements’s truth value depended entirely on cultural values and all of the emplacing phrases like ‘conceptual schemes’ and ‘web of beliefs’ for their becoming/being true or false. Something is not *made true by one’s believing it, something else is going on with the word belief. The import of the word ’belief’ comes from religion and the repetitive affirmation technique imbued in people during a particular historical periods and geographical locations. The practice of individualizing affirmation that the subject is made to express in public, private, and in dialogue according to prescribed rituals has as much to do with the meaning of the word ’belief’ as it does with forming subjects who are then led to thinking that they must confirm sentences into truthhood. The subject-object distinction is as much a product of these processes as it is a constant structure of language and sentence creation. The intensifying of religious practices has done nothing to subvert this basic function of meaning creation, it has only made us turn about from one side to the other in hopes that one day we will form a unified theory that is held steady from top to bottom. Continue reading “Thoughts after Reading a Chapter on the Philosophy of Language”
Language plays tricks on us. Distinctions separate from each other as an effect of successful meaning-making during our recurring tasks that we perform with the help of this meaningful communication. The two sides of the distinction grow apart as we vacillate between them, organizing things to fit neatly inside of two opposite containers. (A) is not (B), (b) is not (A); suddenly what you are saying makes sense and I can hone in on the thought you are having.
Often people will take the distinction, spend a long time considering what is in one side and then the other, and declare that they are illusions – the real makes no such division, all is one (although, between ’all’ and ’one’ there is, without a doubt, a distinction). Other times people will take the difference, the ’not the other’, and give it special powers. Many will leap into one container berate the other to no end, holding the front-, the hard-line.
These concepts are a product, and perhaps even a by-product, of language. We can try to imagine without language, but it still remains a profound method for expression and will not go away. We simply must be on guard from its trickery. To accept the spellbinding, yet not be coerced.