The other day, passing a group of seemingly puzzled people in the street, I caught the following fragment of conversation:

-….It’s kinda weird.
-It IS weird!

Even the ensuing baffled laughter was predictable. Might I say, a bit irritably predictable. Actually, isn’t this what is truly weird. The way that myriad pat phrases and tones and gestures are cues for other utterances and affectations. From the ’outside’ one cannot help but notice the ’artificiality’ of such exchanges. There you go Heidegger: it is language that speaks man, not the other way around. But mistake me not, I don’t think there is any problem with all this. Not at all. (The above mentioned irritation is but an affectation of my own.) Rather, I am simply bracketing and amplifying a fleeting instant that displays the extent to which, in effect, we ride along impersonal (in the sense of being more than personal: i.e. social) rhythms of communication; which happens, I think, even in private, when we talk to ourselves. And though, most of the time it is very much like language were ‘using’ us–to reproduce itself and survive and bathe in the air filtered through us or something-we do have the capacity to use language for constructive and therapeutic ends, pro-actively. We can use it intelligently: where words like enzymes catalyze the unprocessed debris of our minds. Among other things, it is called dialogue. David Bohm has written a nice book about it.


About The Still Small Man
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