Saturday, May 5, 2007

language as sieve

The "blooming, buzzing confusion" of which James wrote is a rich, multi-dimensional continuum. However, language manifests itself only in one-dimensional strings of discrete phonemes. When one understands an event as summarized in language, when one reports an event to another through speech, one performs a projection. The utterance is a mere shadow of the event, and as with all shadows, a different perspective, a different angle, might yield a confusingly different shape, even if the event casting them remains "the same." For how can we talk of two contradictory sentences describing the same event, when within language they cannot be reconciled? How to discuss the world beyond language? For language is a sieve, it captures only coarse chunks and unsubtleties of experience and necessarily lets the full richness of detail slip through.

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