Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A lot of thinking doesn't occur in language. Our senses know things that we would struggle to put into language. Riding a bike, taking a curve, the balance of your body on the seat, the angle of the bike as you turn, the speed and the weight, how much to brake -- there's no way you could put that knowledge into words that somebody could hear and know how to do it without practicing. Their ears could hear the words, their minds could comprehend them, but until their bodies learned the weights and speeds and angles, they wouldn't know how to do it, the knowledge would be incomplete.

Obvious point, but it occurred to me because I often hear and read -- from musicians and visual artists in particular -- how language is rational. People often attempt to use language rationally, but no matter how hard, how rigorously, how stiffly, in what a deceased manner, we try (see what I mean?), we can't help but fail, because of all of the windy associations that adhere to any particular clump of language -- trying "hard," with "rigor," which means "stiffly" and suggests the rigor mortis of death. And that doesn't even take into account the tonal qualities of speech -- the melody of speech, the timbre and tone of voice, the rate of speech (tempo), the volume of speech (YELLING, whispering -- dynamics) -- all of these carry huge amounts of meaning unrelated to the lexical content of language, its so-called rational burden or freight or (I'm trying to think of a non-connotative word here, people, help!) -- its rational purport. And melody, timbre, tone, tempo, dynamics -- why, these are musical qualities, no? Speech is musical. Period. Language is associative and musical.

And I say, yeah yeah yeah. Right on, 10-4, and hip hip hooray.

-- image: Archimedes Palimpsest.

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