Monday, June 25, 2007

Trip Mckenzie and the Great Barrier Language.

(wrote this a while ago, in lieu of anything better though I thought I would put it up. It is not written creatively or well, but I find the ideas quite interesting. More to the point my brain is not functioning right now, so I thought to kick start it a little by going over some stuff...)

I realised just now that I hate language.

By its nature language is a system of pre-conceptions, past exceptions, rules and regulations. In the interest of communication we conceptually limit ourselves. To describe a day's experiences we employ a barrage of references and descriptions of previous experience. These are not even our own.

If I say 'tree' I am referring to the thing that is a tree, except I use a word that is not my own creation, not my own reaction experiencing the object to which I refer. Up to a point this is a remarkably convenient means of communication. Generally speaking our collective experiences of trees are likely to be very similar. So by accepting the word tree as our universal label for those similar experiences we are able to easily translate our experiences to one another.

Yet none of our experiences of even something as concrete and common as a tree are likley to be identical. So that when we accept the label 'tree' for our own experience and concept we also assent to a sacrifice of something unique to our perception of reality. This is where language begins to frustrate.

Fir f we wabt ti express our own unique concept of anything, to represent in language our own instinctive reaction to experience, we must turn to this other and past defined system of description. Whilse 'tree' when first uttered may have entirely captured the feelings, thought and perception of its speaker, it cannot be the same for us. But if we were to utter to someone our own instinctive verbal/vocal interpretation they would surely not understand. Inevitably, to explation our meaning we would once more have to return to the accepted term 'tree' and then add further explanation of what the object inspires in us.

Add every other word and the structure of our expression is the same as that first one. To pinpoint exactly our own experience we fall further and further into complexity. Simply because if we were to utter the simplest most natural expression, no-one would understand nor would they be likely to seek to understand.

And this is all just for a simple reference to a common object...

Aparat from a literary exercise we are unlikely to have any great desire to share our unique interpretation of 'tree experience'. Appart from a certain sadness at this loss empathy, we can accept efficient communication as a preferable pay-off.

When it comes to an abstract idea, concept, emotion or feeling, however, the frustrating limitations of language become never-ending and irresistable. With its base sacrifice of expression in favour of communication, language in fact becomes a remarkably inefficient tool.

A picture tells a thousand words only because peope are prepared to descipher the nature of the picture, however abstract it may be. The same with music, dance, visual art. We accept our own emotional response as our guide to the expression of the artist's experience.

Present a book of abstract scribblings which are your own unique written expression of experiences and be branded insane.

At a push we can insert made up words and sounds into our chosen language to express something we otherwise cannot find the words for. Admit that no words are your own experiences, substitute the whole language for a book of your own creations - that is entirely unacceptabe.

As we reach to greater complexity or uniqueness in our discourse of ideas we embrace the most efficient tool in the interest of communication. But it is this very efficiency which is the flaw in that method, since it is this which pushes us to ever greater complexity.

technorati tags:

No comments: