A word waltz

Do I come here today to kill time? But what is time, and what am I? I wield concepts recklessly as truth surrogates. I say something and by virtue of me having said it, it takes on a reality. Not even “a” reality, as if it were a humble ally of the many other, co-present realities. Just reality. Things as they are. But if things are only things in the presence of the names we give them, then how can we claim them as real? Why do we dare ensnare them in our lettered prisons?

Why are words wardens of being?

It is strange that we practice our habits so carelessly. We bandy language about as if it has no effect. As if it isn’t the most violent means we have for relating to the world. Indeed, we have no world without the word to give it life.

Although to be fair, I should say to give it meaning. We bring nothing to life in language. We house former life. Each word is a coffin for what was, never a vessel for what is, though perhaps a glimpse of what might yet be. The latter, then again, is a logical impossibility, stuck in the very confines words themselves can only create and can never escape.

We cede control of ourselves to our words, begging them to hold us, to frame us, to still us and settle us. Yet where we think we thrive, we die. Words atrophy existence, except that implies existence has strength. That it, as a concept, somehow transcends the very limits of language, our original doublethink mediation. Language is the means by which we come to know ourselves and yet it is at the same time the means by which we may never know ourselves. Not merely because there are no selves to know but because if our selves are what we wish they were then language would have no power to express their truth. We are ever unknowable, the grand flux, proceeding and receding and mocking our futile arrows. We shoot words and hope they stick; there is nothing to which they might stick. No fortune is outrageous, and there is no question of to be or not to be. There is no such duality, Hamlet, and your greatest anxiety comes from your inability to live with ambiguity and uncertainty. You are paralyzed by it, unable to act, stuck with words, words, words. As you begin to recognize the paradoxical predicament of man’s languaged drama, you surrender, “come what may,” and in that you finally live.

The idiot is Shakespeare; we dance to his sound and fury, thinking he somehow knew something we never can. If he knew anything, he never said it. Whatever he said, he never knew. And so too we, in all our flourishes. We yearn to touch the infinite, but there is nothing to touch in nothingness. We are each fundamentally no-thing-ness, and so why do we try so hard to be some-thing…any-thing? Is no-thing such a terrible fate? Why do we resist its liberating charm? No-thing begs nothing of you, for there is no you to which it could even appeal. There is no it either. There is movement and space and fleeting form. Here now…only ever here now, if ever.

So you came here to bring your future closer, and all you find is an unceasing flow of now’s, except that when you try to name them, they dance away, waltzing to a rhythm you wish you could hear. Even better, see. You want to bear witness to the universe, and yet you are already always the universe, so you need only bear witness to yourself, except you know well that’s no-thing, and so there’s no-thing to bear witness to. Why not stop being the witness, which isn’t real, and start being?

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