The Deception of The Word

Words are our constant Warden. We think only with the presence of these words guiding our thought. We communicate believing our words to be key in our conversation. Words, ironically enough, restrain our ability to articulate ourselves. The moment a thought is placed formally inside a sentence, it loses all of the initial complexity that brought it into being. Instead, we are left with something turgid. The fluidity and beauty of an initial thought trapped inside bruised swollen words containing, but not releasing, the thought.

Words are forever with us, and whilst they distort, they are part of our condition as humans. Whether we should bemoan that our ancient ancestors from a different species clambered down from the trees, where they sang, to the soil where we grunted our way into language is meaningless.

The conception of the ‘Logos’ has been key within western philosophy and western religious thinking.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. — John 1:1

The concept here is the the ‘Word, The ‘Logos’ is foundational not only in our thinking, but at the very concept of ‘being’. The Logos in Christianity being God, the word fixed as the rational power from which all, besides the word itself, was begotten. The word in this vision truly is foundational. The most common conception of the ‘Logos’ is certainly akin to this Christianity. This is the conception of the ‘Logos’ as the universal principle that animates and governs the world. It is not God itself, yet it is consubstantial of God. It is the manner in which all reality can be made sense of, through aligning our words with ‘The Word’.

It is not the words that slither from our tongues that we are concerned of here. Rather, it is the internal words. Philo Judæus, an ancient Jewish philosopher. Makes the distinction here between what he calls the logos prophorikos and the logos endiathetos. These can be understood as the ‘word spoken’ and ‘the word within’. It is the logos endiathetos that is of particular concern regarding the deception of words. It is plainly obvious that the words we speak can lead to miscommunication, or can be lacking the full content when received by another of what we desire put into them.

The internal words are those that we think, we create and mold according to our volition, is one of the more common conception of how we think. They are constructions from the void in which only our will permeates. In this way, ‘The Word’ that is consubstantive aspect of the divine that speaks to us. It is a will that can be imagined, or perhaps actually does, exist along our own within ourselves with which teachers of religion, mystics, shamans, and so many others wish us to align ourselves.

Most of our ‘thinking’ however, cannot be said to form itself into words. Alongside the ‘Logos’ is the less commonly known ‘Rhema’. The logos is the written word, as found in the bible. Yet, it is not the spoken word. Our internal thoughts are not found in the logos but within the Rhema. That instantaneous recognition of the divine or primeval voice that speaks a silence which we understand. It speaks without form or image.

That whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent

Famously, Wittgenstein wrote these words in the ‘Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus’. In Christian thought, the Rhema is the understood as holy spirit that speaks to us, distinct from the Logos in that it is not the principle itself. It can be conceptualised outside of the Christian context however to simply refer to the internal unconceptualizable ‘will’. Such a thing cannot be expressed with, not can it express itself fully, through the medium of language. It is the end point of language. In speaking through silence, it allows for contemplation from which we can reply silently.

The logos prophorikos, whether literally spoken or simply written, simply becomes a means of becoming conscious of an already prexisting ‘rhema’. In doing so, it distorts the will, whether the divine will, the primeval will or the human essence.

Words then are to discovering ourselves what narcotics are to human happiness. They create a simulacrum of the goal, which can never make us fully content. The words that are most useful are precisely those that betray their formal nature, those that betray easy articulation and sensibility. When words do not formally attempt to re-articulate The Word. Instead, the best of our language gestures, teases and seduces us to thought without language, words or formal reason. It sparks our being to speak that which cannot be spoken, in a silent voice that can be heard, to ourselves that we engage with as an other.

Engaging in this way, will open new modes of communication with the true other. Words always lead to a failure of recognition. The individual responding with words is only speaking back to words. The internal word does not speak, but asks us to act in certain ways. Acting according to the internal is that which allows us to resonate with the other and in that resonating meaningfully recognise the other as themselves.

We can lead ourselves to a smooth brained Eden, a freedom from conscious abstraction. We would only be mediated by practices that cannot be articulated, only understood through their practice. The weakening of the word liberating us from personal space in favour of a conversation with each other in ways we can’t even imagine.