I love you all.
So tonight I went to a stranger's house for Thanksgiving. I was the nephew of a friend of a friend.
And it felt good.
I was not a stranger and it was not a strange land.
I talked to men with beards who were very friendly. They are feeding this reflection. Which I will get to shortly.
But first a few digressions.
I was recently trying to describe to a co-worker how I feel like an island. How I feel like a stand alone figure that doesn't need anyone else to be who I am. How my mind feels so independent and weird.
But I'm not an island. That isn't what I'm here to say. I miss my family. And I crave affection.
What I'm here to say is meant to prepare me to write my next shortish essay that will aid me in the construction of my larger essay. The next section of my big essay 'Art, Zen, and Insurrection' that I have to write is called 'Art and Language'.
So, in preparation for that section I feel that I need to write a shorter piece on language.
I have a friend who is very hurt by the limitations of language. The inability for language to match the richness of sensual and emotional experience.
These thoughts on language are valuable and real, no doubt. But language is not to be eschewed. It is not to be thought of as inadequate. It is the only thing we really have. And we should not take it lightly. We should try to use it with as much confidence, meaning, and force as possible.
Don't you ever tell me that language isn't good enough and that you are going to give up because it just isn't adequate. Poppycock.
Work harder. Think harder. Clarify harder. Express harder. Expand your definition of what constitutes language. Work work work. Do not give up on language.
This issue has been bubbling under my surface since 2007. Language, its limitations, and those implications.
So the time has come for me to write a focused piece on this issue. And, conveniently, it lines up with my next section of my big piece 'Art and Language'.
The smaller piece I want to write will thus be called: 'On The Inadequacy Of Generalization And The Richness Of Language'. Because the issue is not language itself. Language itself is a broad category that encompasses very diverse phenomenon. Generalization, on the other hand, is the real problem. It is the part of our language, the part of our lives, that tends to be more dangerous, more reductive, more harmful.
Thus I want to clarify this distinction. We don't need to worry about language. We need to worry about generalization. When Zizek talks about the violence of language he is more so talking about the violence of generalization.
And this is why I need to talk about gentle men with beards.
Because as a child I think I had a very reductive view of older men. I think I thought of beards or facial hair as a sign of maturity, as a sign of coolness and age. It used to make me think that these older men would be tough and cold. That they would be cool, aloof, and disinterested.
Tonight I talked to grown men with beards who were not only friendly, but gentle and goofy. They smiled goofily and made silly jokes. They lacked seriousness and didn't care. They were fun and gentle.
What I'm pointing our here is the inadequacy of generalizing about people based on physical appearance. We can't assume that just because people have tattoos, or beards, or long hair, or short hair, or certain clothes, or whatever, that they are certain ways.
To generalize is to admit that we don't understand the nuance of people.
But then again sometimes generalizing might be helpful or necessary.
So that is why I need to look into this issue with greater care.
I need to clarify this distinction between generalization in particular and language in general.
And I need to determine the usefulness of generalization.
Because I'm tired of having 'the inadequacy of language' be a viable excuse for poor communication. I hope to negate that view. I hope to provide myself with a set of ideas that will effectively refute that idea.