“Throw off the cloak of your inhibitions and run riot in the anarchy of your freedom.”
In previous posts I have talked a little bit about what I like in books and music, what stirs me and what makes me love them. But now I feel that it is time to write about the thing that binds a lot of my passions together. Words. We all use them, we all speak them, we sometimes understand them, we weep because of them, they get us angry, they cheer us up, they move us, they challenge us and in many ways they define us. How much of what humanity has achieved would be possible without words? Even when discussing numbers, we speak in words. Everything we understand in our universe has to be understood on some level by words. How else do you teach quantum physics to the next generation of budding scientists? We even think in words, they are ingrained in us on every level of our existence, except, perhaps, the most basic level of raw emotion.
Some people are described as ‘good with words’. In my earlier post, ‘Cormac McCarthy: A True Wordsmith’ (see here: https://bengarry.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/cormac-mccarthy-a-true-wordsmith/) I wrote about how one of my favourite authors uses words, and in another post, ‘Morals and Mayhem’ (see here: https://bengarry.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/morals-and-mayhem-children-of-fire-album-by-oh-sleeper/) I wrote about how one of my favourite bands uses words. This may seem incredibly basic, but there are ways to use words which really make people feel something and not everyone is on the same level with this. You only have to watch some of the rallies from the past election in the USA to see how one man’s words can get a whole crowd of people worked up. Not only that, but I’m sure that most readers will have a favourite book or a favourite song or a favourite film which moves them to some sort of emotion and, with the exception of instrumental music of course, I’d imagine that all those things move you by words.
Words can be truthful; they can be deceitful. Eloquent, persuasive speakers can use words to make people believe whatever they want to believe. Other people can hide the true meaning of their words under heaps of jargon that make people believe what they’re saying even if they don’t really understand it, just because the speaker sounds clever. Still others can create a very emotive image in the minds of their listeners by speaking to persuade them to their cause. But, as I said, words can also be a great conveyor of truth and should not always be ignored. Now, many people that know me will know that I am not a great fan of relative truth. Just because someone has an opinion, that does not make it true, however much they wish it to be so. No, I, like many other people, believe that there is an absolute truth. I believe that this was written down by God-inspired people and preserved in the Bible. You may have different ideas about absolute truth, for example, some believe that truth is only that which is rigorously tested and supported by scientific experimentation, I’m fine with that, but the point is that there is an absolute truth that can be discovered somehow and that has to be communicated with words.
I might be making a big fuss out of nothing here. You might be shouting at the screen that of course words are important and that I’m not saying anything profound and I’ll admit that unlike some of my other blogs, there isn’t really a central point here that I’m trying to get at or demonstrate. I’m just trying to show how powerful words can be, to try and drum up some enthusiasm for the most common thing in the world today! It’s marvellous, it’s ingenious! Some might argue that the DNA which tells our proteins how to construct the cells that build us forms a sort of four letter language (A, C, G, T) and what do letters make? WORDS! I believe that words are, in many ways, the very foundation of what we are. We were made by a word (John 1) and words are the very fabric of our being. So let’s show some appreciation for WORDS!
I’ll finish with some of my favourite quotes from songs and books. I like them for different reasons, but of course they’re all words and for me, these are some of the words that really provoke feelings within me. I’m sure you have your own favourites, but here are some of mine:
“All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one’s heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.” – Cormac McCarthy (The Road).
“These are only a few, for the list marches on. Fame is a drug and the addicts our gods. But we measured their doses and gave them a flame, so the charge is on us: we are the dealers of fame.” – Oh, Sleeper (Dealers of Fame)
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; and as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” – Psalm 103:9-12
“And so shall stand the holy city, on a mountain surrounded by a desert in bloom. To those who said ‘where is your God?’ where are you?” – anon.