Mission Statement

Bearing Witness to Local Natural History-- from the wildness of Indiana

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bound by Language?

I have been thinking about something that was mentioned at my spiritual growth center--yes, I prefer not to use "church" for all the negative connotations that term creates. (This is another characteristic of language--words have negative and positive affects).

One man (I will call him TC)  said that while preparing for his presentation, he had asked a friend for a meaning of "love". The friend (MM) stated-- Why do you need a definition? (Not verbatim). This response captured my thoughts for days.

Language can be such a hindrance when we attempt to discuss or explain the unexplainable. For all the beauty of the English language, it often fails when speaking of that which can't be seen. Or those strong emotions and experiences which we try to convey. I am not suggesting we should do without language. I am a lover of words and know the power they hold.

What is "love"? It is many things to many people. There are many kinds of love . . .? Some would say yes . . . others no. Is love the same but simply different when it involves different relationships? Does love need words to explain it?

Strip language away. It would force us to "feel" more. Free us to feel more. Perhaps we would rely more on our intuition or that inner voice which converses with us at all times. What if you could not use words or sounds to communicate?

In my book, Dancing With Herons: Bearing Witness to Local Natural History, I discuss how language restricts our ability to deeply and accurately express ourselves. How do you explain the sacred?

In "When Eyes Meet" (a chapter in the book), I conclude an encounter with a White-tailed Deer during a blizzard by writing the following: "Something indescribable passes between us. My language is limited in describing this encounter and all those like it. But my word of choice is Knowing."

So does love need a definition? Beauty? Joy?

You will find me asking many questions in my writing here. Many of the questions will be rhetorical. They are merely questions for you and myself to contemplate.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Wait . . . don't answer-- that would involve language.

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