Language, Gife-Liver

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Do you remember the recent decision by the British people to leave the EU? Of course you do. Do you remember what that was called? Of course you do.

Now that some dust has settled, I examine the processes before, during, and after “Brexit” with a particular lens:

I hypothesize that language can give life to things.

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Consider something that is not. Impossible? Debatable, but unlikely. Language serves as a function that inputs something and gives it “realness” or “life” in our minds. That realness serves as a recipient grasped by our mental actions. For our purposes, if a vote by a nation of people to change a policy significantly affects economies, ideologies, and perceptions, then “Brexit”, and thus language, is real enough to matter.

Having the word “tree” consolidates sensory data in a way that encourages us to notice manifestations of the word in the form of patterns usually found in forests. Whereas a lack of a word may cause our attention to skip over such manifestations of patterns. Without ever noticing it, one could argue that it does not exist to us. If something has never been described in language, this does not mean that it doesn’t exist. However, certainly something having been described with language gains a considerable degree of realness.

Like electricity or getting introduced to the stage by an MC, this describing function often simply involves the connection of this piece of language to other pieces in various ways, through the connection maintaining accepted modica of usage, thus giving this piece realness. This connection serves as a platform upon which a thing is described by other (previously vetted) “real” things.

In action, consider “Brexit”: a combination of “Britain” (a country located around 55.3781° N, 3.4360° W) and “exit” (the action of taking leave). Note my explanations of the pieces themselves contain connections to other lingual pieces.

Language can give life, or degrees of realness. So, what’s the point?

 

 

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Power

Understand this: That which can be more easily represented in language is more likely to be understood quicker than that which can be represented in language less easily. Repetition increases understanding. Repetition increases understanding. Repetition increases understanding. Comfort breeds understanding. Fear propels us away, into comfort.

Marketing departments exist for a reason. TV commercials cost a lot of resources. Lingual manipulation works in favor of the manipulator. Memes, fads, and slang exist from common understanding, borne from ease, repetition, and control of comfort and fear.

Language that is easy to describe, repeated, and manipulated through fear or comfort can influence the communicative dissemination and transactions of understanding.

So, I hold that “Brexit”, an easily communicable two-syllable combination of commonly known ideas, plastered on media outlets, and instilled by positivity and negativity, contributed directly and significantly to the vote in its favor. If its creation was deliberate, “Brexit’s” creators should be commended. And given a raise. “Brexit” implanted itself in many hearts and minds, at the least. One can only speculate how its sibling, “Bremain”, would’ve fared given the same attention.

In conclusion, to persuade, try inventing language. Control the ease, repetition, and level of comfort or fear associated with it. Give a description of something new that benefits you. Its foil, the non-existence of the thing, stands no chance to combat your description. Through language, we can be gods. Give life. Live gife.

 

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Restatement: Say nothing to say something

This post was inspired by the Ordinary Language Philosophy episode of BBC’s In Our Time, which I recommend highly.

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I tried to write a novel once. I failed before I had even tried. Many of us feel that underlying beckoning to express our deeper meaning into a tome for all to revere, even if “all” is our mom. What makes writing a book difficult?

This question appears to be a heuristic, or substitute, of another question: What makes producing art difficult? In order for us starving artists to answer this, let’s deconstruct the language.

what makes producing art difficult?

Let’s assume, for the sake of this exercise, that there is a “what” we are looking for in the first place. That will force us to actually look for it, as opposed to losing progress to doubt (“Well, maybe it’s not there after all…”). This potentially false belief will get us to step two.

what makes producing art difficult?

Let’s assume, for the sake of this exercise, that this Schroedinger’s cat of a reason that might exist does more than exist: it does something. Specifically, this action involves creating or altering, among other things. “Making” itself as a verb infinitive bears ambiguity and does not carry substantial understanding on its own, as opposed to verbs such as “typing,” “swimming,” or “time-traveling.” The word “making” seems to show up in more idioms, so we will need more context to determine if our “what” “makes it,” or “makes up,” or “makes out,” etc.

what makes producing art difficult?

Such a vast, beauteous word this is. Typically, I think appreciation follows those with more interpretations. In art, pieces with mutually exclusive yet valid interpretations give a sense of godliness to the artist, as if s/he was able to connect foreign concepts together beforehand. Usually, such interpretations emerge after the piece is “produced” for public consumption, so the smart artist wouldn’t say “I saw a can of soup and painted it.” Rather, others would say: “This artist made such a raw, definitive commentary on the juxtaposition of material and social consciousness bringing forward the simplicity of object recognition symbolizing the industry of knowledge-peddling that henceforth empowers liberal utilization of anti-anti-establishment capitalist compartmentalization in a minimalist style.” Yes, yes of course that was my intent, the artist smirks.

Back to producing. Turning backward at our words in tow, we see that the reason we seek has created or altered the action of producing. Forward, we make out on the horizon a noun and an adjective. We are still treading water in a sea of uncertainty, but we have hope. It is possible that the following word is an the object being produced, rather than a way of directly describing the act of producing (“producing quickly”) or an interjection (“producing-HEY THAT’S MY CAR!”).

Note here that producing differs slightly from production, again open to interpretation. I think producing necessitates further explanation, while production more firmly stands alone. Consider the following duality:

A: “Production is down 50% from last quarter.”

vs.

B: “Producing is down 50% from last quarter.”

For sentence A, no further explanation of what is being produced is needed (unless the talkative intern wasn’t CCed on the memo). For sentence B, one is led to ask what is being produced, and validly so. “Production” and “producing” have formed into slightly different spheres of usage in the English language. And we have been given “producing.”

what makes producing art difficult?

Here, things get a bit more complicated. Experts, novices, and everyone in between could give you a different answer about the word “art.” More complexity emerges about reference, meaning, or usage of art. In this time of stunned unknowing, some of us look to history or etymology. Based on one thread of research, our linguistic ancestors couldn’t clearly classify “art” into one meaningful box.

Thus, decide for yourself what art refers to, means to you or the world, and how art is used. Here we see a possible explanation as to why I asked myself about producing a book rather than producing art; I can hold a book and simply understand it as a knowable object, but I can only hold an example of art in my hands, not art in itself. Try holding number 10 in your hands. No, those are your fingers.

what makes producing art difficult?

There is a reason that creates or alters the act of producing art (whatever that is), and as a corollary we are told that producing art is now difficult, due to a reason making it so.

what makes producing art difficult?

We can’t overlook the importance of punctuation here. We need to amend our purpose: “…”, due to a reason making it so, which may or may not exist but that we are assuming exists.

For whatever reason, we are trained to think that to produce means to create something new. However, if our goal in producing something is to create anew, we will be disappointed, because “there is no such thing as a new idea…We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations.” -Mark Twain.

Ignore the feeling that an idea isn’t original enough, because it will never be. When faced with writer’s block, whether staring at a blank page, a blank canvas, or blank screen, try a different approach. Consider something you know. This is your kernel. Now, deconstruct the kernel, instead of building upon it. It will break apart into several different pieces or concepts. In essence, restate the obvious but in more detail.

Power

The power of linguistic restatement lies in its ability to change faces. Creative geniuses are not creative. Creativity is a myth concocted to slap a label onto an unrepeatable pattern of thought in the mind of a someone with luck, resources, and energy.

So, when faced with any kind of problem try the following exercise:

  1. Write the problem down or explain it to someone. Use words.
  2. Deconstruct the language you use to describe the problem.
  3. Restate the problem with deconstructed pieces.
  4. Pay attention to every passing thought, even distractions. Even the smallest minutiae bear importance.

For example, I was struggling to create a blog post. So, I classified my problem into worlds, deconstructed, and documented. Now I have a blog post.

But have I really said anything?