Ruminating on Michael Polanyi's epistemic model as developed and conveyed by Dr. Esther Lightcap Meek in the book Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Brief Meditation on Words

Meaning is transcendent. Words are immanent. There is a transcendent Word. We speak words because we are made in the image of the Word, "that Word above all earthly powers"1 that was in the beginning with God, that was God, through Whom all things were made2. God said. He spoke, and it was.3 (I'm using the terms "transcendent" and "immanent" here in the technical philosophical sense.)

This is why words, when used as words, tend to function more like "clues" than like premises, even when structured like premises. The pattern they form points, not only to something beyond themselves, but ultimately beyond the material realm itself. I say "when used as words" because of the modern tendency to individualize, which manifests itself linguistically in the tendency to think of each word as a container of specific meaning. An individual word is not a clue to anything, in the LtK, sense, because it's not part of a pattern. A word out of context can have no certain meaning. Think you disagree? Bug. What does that word mean?

This is also why, when Western philosphy followed Kant down the Road to Nowhere (which, Ozzie Ozbourne tells us, leads to him - and in a sense he's right), we ended in linguistic deconstructionism. If the immanent can have no connection to the transcendent, then words are meaningless. Then they, like all else in the material realm, can be nothing more than tools for each individual to use for his own petty ends.

But if immanent words need not contain transcendent meaning, but need only form patterns that point to it, then we can retrace our steps back up from despair. Ultimately, in order to embrace words, we must embrace the Word.


Blogger Dupa Jasia said...

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2:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Innumerable instances of such dreams of the infantile type can be found among adults also, but, as mentioned, these are mostly exactly like the manifest content.. They may come in handy to sleep on.. Titbottom to dine? Titbottom smiled gently, and answered: He might have brought his spectacles with him, and I have been a happier man for it.. Leonard's, and pass the whole evening there.. He had made Gideon a national character, a headliner, a star of the first magnitude in the firmament of the vaudeville theater, and all in six short months.. Kingsbury, Aunt Sally, and Miss Ellen; and he has since gone home to build a house upon his farm.. I came in to see you about something else.. But this only indicates the way in which the psychic process is discharged in hysterical imitation; the way in which a psychic act proceeds and the act itself are two different things.. Put your right hand into your left preeches pocket, ten, in token ov your vull zubmizzion unto te Angel ov te Odd.. But as they were conversing together, one of the distressed managers cast indignant glances at the brilliant costume of my grandfather, who summoned him, and asked courteously: 'Did you invite me or my coat?' 'You, in a proper coat,' replied the manager.. Only now and then have we found in the dream traces of reaction formations, as, for instance, the tenderness toward friend R.. Kirkland (1801-1864) [From The Gift for 1845, published late in 1844.. In Die Traumdeutung, third edition, p.. The girls were delighted, because Dr.. In the same house and in the adjacent residence the dreamer used to play pugnacious games with the neighboring children, in which he satisfied himself just as he did in the dream.. I don't want to shock you or make you nervous, so I am not going to take you out today on the bay in my boat.. She's so sharp about finding out things.. A little excited then, he attempted one or two of his speeches to the Judge's lady.. Her blue eyes turned upon me with a sweet deprecation.. When I first came to town I shared this sympathy, and pleased my imagination with fancying her hard struggle with the conviction that she had lost all that made life beautiful...

4:12 PM


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