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5 Comments

  • Every word is finally a metaphor – a substitute for reality.

    McGilchrist: “I am talking about the fact that every word eventually has to lead us out of the web of language, to the lived world, ultimately to something that can only be pointed to, something that relates to our embodied existence. Even words such as ‘virtual’ or ‘immaterial’ take us back to their Latin derivation – sometimes by a very circuitous path – to the earthy realities of a man’s strength (vir-tus), or the feel of a piece of wood (materia). Everything has to be expressed in terms of something else, and those something elses eventually have to come back to the body.”

  • Thanks for the quote, David. Language is a bind – virtually impossible to do without, but with its own subtle drawbacks because of the very human tendency to mistake the map for the territory. Bergson, in his essay on laughter, wrote something similar to McGilchrist:
    “The word, which only takes note of the most ordinary function and commonplace aspect of the thing, intervenes between it and ourselves, and would conceal its form from our eyes, were that form not already masked beneath the necessities that brought the word into existence.”

  • “tendency to mistake the map for the territory”

    Now there’s a metaphor I like.

    Do you have a reference for the Bergson?

    (The McGilchrist is Master and His Emissary, by the way).

  • Certainly, David: it’s from Laughter: an Essay on the Meaning of the Comic, chapter 3, part 1. It’s not so much an essay as a short book on the subject, and a very interesting one at that.