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9/13/06


Mind Shadows      Language & Truth

  • Don't you love farce?
    My fault I fear.
    I thought that you'd want what I want.
    Sorry, my dear.
    But where are the clowns?
    Quick, send in the clowns.
    Don't bother, they're here. (Stephen Sondheim, A Little Night Music)

  • When people stop believing in something, they do not believe in nothing; they believe in anything. (Felipe Fernández-Armesto, A modified version of Father Brown's curse)

  • The man who tells you truth does not exist is asking you not to believe him. So don't. (Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy)

    In deconstructionist criticism "reality, if there is any, is left out of our efforts to formulate thoughts and signal their content to each other. The only relations which structure our ideas and our attempts to communicate are between words (or other signs), not between words and other objects; language tells us nothing about itself.

    So be it. But why is language created as separate, self-contained, unpenetrated by everything else that belongs in the world and is known by our traditional truth-finding? . . . Words which relate to other words call a whole world into being. Language is a guarantee of the world of which it is part; it has truth to tell us even before we abuse it to utter nonsense and lies. Mystics and meditators can escape from the limitations of language into an appreciation of truth in silence; but silence implies sound. Silence is part of speech–the gaps in the midst of it without which no communication works. Even the void of mystical experience is lapped by language. Whenever we get an intimation of truth–whether we feel it, listen for it, sense it or think it out for ourselves–we should expect it to talk to us and we should be able to try, if we like, to express it for others." (Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Truth: A History and A Guide for the Perplexed)
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