The Silent Realm

So what does it mean to make good observations? What does it mean to communicate real content, to say things worth saying?

I know that when I turn off my mind, and I just observe, just pay attention, I have an experience full of content. I also stay aware that the habits of my attention, what I seek out and look at in my backyard or on the street, or in the faces of my friends, remains heavily influenced by my personal history, my culture, and how I form my thoughts in language. Silence remains available, however, and I can always go back to that world where I have as much in common with a chair, a fly bouncing against a window pane, and a puff of air, as I do with another human being. And the more time I spend in the silence, the less influence my culture, history, and language have over me. I don’t know that they ever disappear, but they lessen, and I can begin to experience purely, to notice things I hadn’t before. To participate in the weaving of the patterns of the world.

In this realm, I can play with what it means for everything to express itself as a verb, rather than as a noun. That rock there…what verb does that express? Does it shine, sit, what sound does it make when I knock it against another rock, against many other kinds of rocks, does it smell, what does it taste like?

For those of you who’ve read up on the Riddle articles here, you’ll recognize this immediately as the art of questioning.

I form questions out of words, and questioning gives me such rich experience, that I don’t want to give the impression that I have a problem with language itself. Languages can and do expand and deepen our experience, and give us richer lives. I want to know how I can do that even more, by exploring my relationship with language.

I’ve heard before of famous eccentrics and scientists forming their own language (Buckminster Fuller comes to mind, and of course Korzybski’s E-prime), and I’ve really begun to understand their motive now. We can improve and adapt every tool we use, to help us live in this world more richly. Language, always talking but strangely silent when it comes to this, fulfills the role of a tool. Why not look at our language and decide what we think works and what doesn’t?

Hmm. I’ve asked this question several times, and I haven’t quite asked it in a way that satisfies me yet.

Written by Willem