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    nmw 10:10:38 on 2015/07/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , alive, , , dead, , , , existence, fashion, , formless, formlessness, forms, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    WANTED: Is Written Language DEAD OR ALIVE? 

    We are constantly altering the forms we have inherited from previous generations, and these changes are signs of life and vitality. Indeed: The things that don’t change, the forms that rigidify, come to look to us like death — and we destroy them.

    Robert Greene (“48 Laws of Power”)

    One of the sayings I find particularly enticing is the notion that “Written language is dead”. It appeals to our experiences of printed materials, tomes that appear as tombstones of bygone ideas. Yet today, this dogma itself is no longer valid.

    Today, written language exists in the present. Written language lives and breathes according to the whims of an invisible hand that sweeps our attention from hither to thither. “Bells and whistles” give way to “ringtones”, and “ringtones” also succumb to other newfangled applications of fashion.

    More and more writing is becoming less and less etched in stone, it increasingly billows among flyers scattered by the winds of change, becomes evermore formless, ephemeral and transient. Fixed data points give way to fluid data streams.

    There is no need for remorse or backwards oriented attachment to the dead tomes of yesteryear or the innumerable generations dating back to the ancient past. We are not amoeba. We are, here and now, living in the present… — and constantly changing in order to better adapt to the future.

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    nmw 18:43:59 on 2015/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: agree, agreement, , , , contract, , existence, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    The individualist manifesto vs. The anti-revolutionary social contract 

    To think or not to think — no. To write or not to write… — no. To create or not to create… — that’s wrong, too. I can come up with many ideas, but where do they come from — out of thin air?

    There are some who often say: “You should live your own life, you should create your own narrative.” They are also wrong — it is not possible to invent myself or my story as being independent of the world around me. To do so would require me to step outside of any language community, to speak in something we might hypothetically call “my own language”. Yet the sun, the moon and stars, all plants and animals, the air we breathe, the water we drink, our entire lives are a matter of co-existence… we share a space with other objects and beings, and they are not only a part of our lives, they are a part of our being, and they also co-create the language we speak. We really cannot speak of anything which doesn’t exist (note that our imagination does exist), the existence of things leads us to observe them, think about them, interact with them, and also express our ideas about them using different kinds of language. We are no more free in our use of language than we are free to squint or not to squint when we look at a bright light — our squinting expresses something meaningful.

    Yet there are nonetheless people who will preach individualism, self-discovery, self-actualization, self-fulfillment,… — a whole self-centered philosophy. A philosophy that is bogus and that simply denies obvious laws of nature.

    Luckily, you are reading these words. You are trying to understand what I am trying to say — we are in this together. Night and day, the sun and the stars, all of life and death are also with us. We are all here together. The notion that we could be apart and isolated is also here, but it is ridiculous. 😉

    That said, you do not need to agree with me. Neither do the Sun or other stars. Nor does William Shakespeare. They need not speak the same language, but they might.

    I can try to convince you that my ideas are reasonable, but you are nonetheless free to think about different ideas. Perhaps you might like to think of ideas you would rather call “clouds”. I might not understand what you mean, precisely. Whatever you call “clouds” might not care at all what you think of them. Everyone is free to think as they like, but at the same time there is this curious feeling that we might be able to understand each other every now and then.

    Mutual understanding feels good. It feels a whole lot better than any notion of individualism. It feels so great, that we spend most of our days expressing ideas to each other that we hope will increase this understanding.

    We make agreements on a daily basis. We will call some things blue, other things green. We will restrict our use of terms like “ow” or “ouch” to mutually agreed upon contexts… — and likewise with almost everything else. We won’t smile when we’re unhappy (unless, perhaps, we are “acting” or “pretending”).

    Why would anyone suggest that you might be happy if you would write your “own” narrative? They would be suggesting that you should try to do something which is impossible. 😐

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    nmw 11:02:27 on 2015/04/27 Permalink
    Tags: absolute, absolutes, , , , , , , existence, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Neither Not at All Nor Completely 

    I often make fun of people who say things like “that is so true“… but I must admit: there appears to be nothing more true than the fact that throughout our entire existence we can experience nothing beyond some limits — the extremes of which are not included — namely: We must live our entire life spans in between “not at all” and “completely”. This is one thing my father has incessantly hammered home: There is no 100%. And likewise: There is no 0%. Of anything. Of any proposition. There are no absolutes. Somewhere in that list, I took over — because it is my father who still keeps searching for absolutes; I am the one who has given up on that idea.

    Existence is a funny thing. We must always co-exist. If the other half doesn’t exist, then neither do we. We are always also everything that we are not.

    I could keep going on entertaining you with philosophical aphorisms, but that is not what I wanted to write about. Firstly, I needed to say what I said first of all. Beyond that, I also want to talk about language again.

    In a sense, language is that other thing. We use it. It’s a technology, just like phones or shoes or a hammer. We grab pieces of it, throw it around, bang it against walls, build other stuff with it… but it is no more a part of us than our own genes are. Oh, wait a minute… — It is a little bit a part of us, isn’t it? It is a little bit the air we breathe. Wait. What was that?

    Wittgenstein was definitely onto something — well, not 100%, but pretty much. As I write these words, I give them meaning. As you read them, you also give them meaning (and I sure hope you give them more or less the same meaning as I do). We hammer away at expressions. We knock them around, sometimes we bend them out of shape, stretch them, give them new meanings. That’s life. 😀

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    nmw 08:52:20 on 2014/10/08 Permalink
    Tags: , existence, existential, , , , , inspirational, inspirationals, inspirations, inspire   

    Go Inspire Yourself! 

    Seeking inspiration outside of yourself is problematical.

    One of my inspirations has a habit of referring to something as “Kantian” — referring to using any maxim as if it were a universal law. If everyone wished to be inspired by someone else, then the burden of being the last in the line of expectations would be rather heavy. Likewise, attempting to inspire others seems doomed to fail due to the often quite shallow depths of intellectual resources available. :|

    How to escape from this quasi-conundrum?

    There are no easy answers to this problem, but here is one idea: Immortalize yourself! Live in a way that has no expectation of a future, no sorrows or regrets about the past — neither of them exist here and now. You will not become anything, you will not receive a reward, you will not find the truth. Simply exist and enjoy yourself in the present. :)

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