The first 14 essays tried to “come to terms” with the limitations of language. By extension this included all of thought and imagination – the whole category of construct-making.
How can we discover the “limitations” of something that covers the whole of experience? An all-enveloping fluid from which we can’t leap free, like lucky fish?
In Part II of “Imagine the Limits of the Imagination” I suggested that this can be done by considering the category of “odd words”:
The Three Oddest Words
When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.
When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.
When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no nonbeing can hold.
— Wislawa Szymborska
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This is a footnote to Ritual.
More coherent modes of language arise when the following perspectives are realized (at the very least):
1) We each see different parts of the proverbial elephant.
This suggests parallel truths. A multiverse. Each infinite and also limited.
2) We look with different levels of magnification. A microscopic vision of the elephant’s trunk at the cellular level is not more true than a macroscopic vision of the trunk as a whole. They are relevant to different contexts.
This makes it easy to suspend judgement.
3) The elephant is a moving target. The trunk we describe is already a different shape. Reality changes as we learn. I go into this a little more in Ritual, part II, in the section titled “The Simplifying Potential of Negative Language.”
This is a humbling perspective.
4) Wildest of all: The elephant we perceive is actually not the elephant itself. But I think a distinction needs to be made between actuality (the “holomovement,” the creativity of nature itself), and reality (the “things” we abstract from actuality as information, perceptions, theories or thoughts).
If we understand this in our bones, then there is no alienation. Then the world becomes sacred in the absence of religion.Read More »