The thing about words

Earlier today I posted a quote and link to J.H. White’s invitation to join an experiment in exploring the Collective Unconscious.

While listening to her short audio clip I made a note. In the process, uncertain about a word, I scratched out the first attempt, listened again and then wrote, “The need to know and the need to say, obscure truth.”

The thing is, despite listening more than once and focusing on what was being said – I still got it wrong. The statement is actually, “The need to know and the need to save, obscure truth.”

Maybe I should be embarrassed, but instead I’m fascinated. Both interpretations work and are interconnected yet the meanings are very different. What I see is my distrust of words in conveying truth. I value and appreciate words but am also wary of them.

I saw the “need to say” both as creation of concept and as a need for ownership and identification. Impediments to truth. The need to save is an entirely different cautionary note. In this case does save mean, keep from danger? Or does it mean to “hold”? In any case it is treating truth as an object or something fixed.

Truth. The Collective Unconscious. Echoes. And the Poetry of Light. Thanks J.H. White.

(check out my earlier post for links)










5 thoughts on “The thing about words

  1. I share your quandary about words, Chris…about language. But I’m encouraged with your response! I didn’t know what to expect venturing into translating insight by writing in prose instead of poetry, it is so fraught with “ownership and identification”

    But I also didn’t think it would be so interesting and REAL so soon. I do thank you. This is very cool.

    I puzzle about everything I’ve learned … continuously. That’s probably the point. Keeps us on our toes. Please stick around. We’re just getting started…

    And thanks again for digging in… I think that’s the connection between the two words.

  2. Much–so much–can be learned by and from our mis-hearing of words. I sometimes use this very fact as a kind of poetic exercise.

    The phonetic doppelgängers that live in the language often lead to places we didn’t know we needed to go:

    One of may favorite quotes of late:

    “Words mean something because they always threaten to sound like something else.”
    –James Longenbach

    Looking forward to this continuing discussion (discursion?).

  3. This post resonates with me. Word’s help. They illuminate. Used well, they are greater than the sword. But sometimes I hold them too dear, insisting too much taht things be said right, wanting to save the train of meaning and not the feeling behind it. Killing the link the words are meant to be. Talking about which – Going off to check that link now…

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