Join Date: May 2015
Location: Birmingham, UK
Culture Carriers in a Landscape of Language
Culture Carriers in a Landscape of Language
Not having names for feelings = not having feelings that match the names.
Fiction conceals the truth by adding an overlay of fantasy. Non-fiction obscures its own fictional nature by presenting mere facts as truth.
He wrestled with the words on the screen. It was literally as if some organism inside him were fighting against an awareness that was struggling to emerge. It was the awareness that language had him as its prisoner, and that it would resist, with everything it had, all his attempts to express that fact through language. Maybe even this was the final, the most advanced strategy of language: to imprison him via his very efforts to use it to get free of it?
What unfathomable cunning! As long as he believed that language offered the means to understand the nature of the matrix he was caught inside, he would continue tinkering away at the edges of the cage, convinced he was slowing wearing down the bars, when really he was only polishing them and making them shine.
And he was getting older with each passing hour. That was the nature of the prison: the mind continued as if it was immortal, whiling away the hours in fantasy realms of abstraction, oblivious—crucially oblivious—to the steady decay of the organism for which time was rapidly running out. And if the mind still held sway, in its eternal illusion of control, when the body died, then what he was—that organic awareness embedded inside the conscious system of existence—would find itself shackled to that hideous linguistic parasite even in death. The monkey would ride his awareness into the next life, and so on, maybe forever, each time its tentacles wrapped a little tighter around his slowly shrinking psyche. The end result would be—what? That an awareness meant to fill infinity would be reduced to a fictional character, printed in grungy black ink on the tightly bound pages of a pulp fiction novel, lost among countless boxes in the dusty attics of eternity.
He would be Philip K. Dicked out of existence, with just enough residual awareness to know it, to remember what he had lost.
But he knew this was circular imagery and made no sense. If it were at all true, he was already inside that box in that attic. This*was*the residual awareness speaking. This was the fiction. The empire never ended. But by the same token, the battle was always ongoing. The possibility of release was always there. It was only a matter of shifting the attention a micro-millimeter to be free. The prison was his own mind, but the prison was also IN his mind. The*idea*that the mind imprisoned him (that the mind existed at all) was the thing that kept him prisoner.
The belief that language could define his experience was what defined his experience.
Language and belief were codependent. To believe, we needed to be able to tell ourselves to believe. To be able to apply language at all, we needed to believe in what we were saying. Otherwise, why say it, why think it, at all?
The word blue did not match the color blue. Rationally, he knew this; but still he believed in the meaning of blue. There were a dozen, a hundred, a thousand shades of blue. What he called blue, so the scientists said anyway, was really the absence of blue, that portion of the light spectrum which any given surface reflected back at him, did not absorb. So even perception was the opposite of what we supposed it to be. Consciousness was really unconscious, and that which was most conscious of itself—the body—was unconscious to (and of) him.
Recently he had emerged, more or less, from what he called a full-body depression. There weren’t really words to describe it. He would have to explore all sorts of possible descriptions relating to his childhood, somatic memories, internal physical processes, unconscious currents in his psyche, and so on, to even begin to give an idea of what his experience consisted of. Instead, he slapped a word on, “depression,” as if that covered it. It was a necessary convenience; otherwise, every time someone asked him how he was doing, the only thing he would say would be, “I can’t say.” People didn’t want that sort of honest response. They wanted a formula response. Language had taken over their perceptions, to the extent that it was now running their awareness completely.
It wasn’t that a person asked “How are you?” and required an answer. It was as if language, via any given phrase, used people as hosts to move around, from body to body, and replicate itself that way.
To have feelings and perceptions that could be matched up to language required an internalization of language whereby he had now learned to think about his feelings and perceptions even as he was having them. At this point, there was really no way to separate what he felt or perceived from what he thought—what he*languified—about what he felt and perceived. If that didn’t happen, if language wasn’t fully internalized, his experience was likely to be that, when someone asked him to apply language to his feelings and perceptions, he couldn’t. Language didn’t apply unless, or until, he reshaped his feelings and perceptions to fit with it.
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