Thursday, 11 September 2008

Words Fail Me

Actually they don't. There is more than enough variety, shade and connotation in this language more than adequately to express opinion, belief, logic. Mathematics is more accurately descriptive of the real physical world but language has been able to help build civilisations and destroy them. The demagogue can do almost as much damage as the tank. It helps if you have both, of course. Language can evade meaning and justify anything you like. When words fail us it is because our thinking fails us. We are struck by rage, sometimes, but more likely sheer incompetence is what prevents us. We blame it on words, but the tools are there. So we stay silent, or we just roar - using some words, a few words, as surrogate screams. Their emotional content, their - shall we say - friction, bluntness,sibilance - their history, renders them less a comunication and more a howl. This is why the wild humans at the end of Will Self's Great Apes cry "fuuuuuck offffff" in the distance. It was the call of the human.

When words fail us we let things happen. Shouting sometimes reinforces the evil: it convinces the demagogue that his (or, increasingly often, her) shouting is just, and that of others proof of reactionary or disturbed tendencies. Words become our own jailors.

Words fail us because the thinking has failed, because we no longer recognise the tools we have and we have forgotten how to use them. The concepts we used to use in those words have been overhauled by something else and we have yet to create a new vocabulary to express what is, in fact, a very very old worldview. The language, somehow, needs to change, or the assault on the citizens will simply intensify. And the reactions we give them will convince them more of their need to act.

Some people of course have the talent required: almost no-one in the MSM: in the blogosphere, Tom Paine, Crushed (although he tends to talk far more personally), DK, and this guy among them. Alas, I'm not one of them. I just sit on the wall and shout. Or cry. That's a more accurate rendering of my use of words.


Crushed said...

Never forget;

'When the personal is political, the political will be personal.'

Until then, we're all f**ked.

Ian_QT said...

I've seen a lot of good writing on this blog - don't do yourself down!