Talking about Something

Happy to escape the talk of "everything", you decide to ask the man how we can best talk about specific things. You continue eating as he eagerly starts up again...

Describing something is a bit like whittling wood, I think. You distinguish your meaning from all that surrounds it; you carve away at the substance until all that remains is the image you wish to present. By carving along the distinctions, we have escaped talking about the whole of existence. Although, the thing that we are left with also constitutes a unity, so maybe we haven't fully escaped the original topic.

Actually, the idea of representation is a tad ridiculous, isn't it? The representation will never be the genuine article. The image in wood is not the thing that is depicted. Same goes for a representation presented in words, numbers, or some other symbols. Regardless of how we design these representative models, the description is distinct from the described.

At some point the words and models must be discarded, for we never intended to pass jumbles of letters between us. They all point to something. When we have that thing firm in our grasp, the representations may retire, their purpose served. Which means there is another party in the dialogue - you, me, the jumble of articulated sounds and symbols, and the thing itself. The latter is the star of the show; we are straining to see it on the stage.

This "star of the show" feeds back into our original topic in another way, I suppose. Prior to perceiving some particular thing, we don't know about it. Yet it must still have some ontological presence, if our friends in the temple are to be believed. So it was outside our mind, waiting for us to sit here and discover it together. Or else our mind must be regarded more broadly than some relative thing in a particular "here and now".

Maybe we are all like that, things existing in their own right and available for others to discover. Maybe a bird will look down and spot us for the first time. Perhaps there is even some creature right next to us, positioned at an angle we cannot readily perceive; it might poke its fingers through into our region at any moment!

You sit there quietly with the man for a few moments, but the extra-dimensional entities do not reveal themselves to you. You both chuckle nervously and the man resumes his musings as you finish up your meal.

...Or perhaps there are no other angles, no other creatures, except in our imagination. For they must be somewhere if we are talking about them, right? For my part, I believe that anything coherent is real, that the things I imagine would maintain their coherence even outside my imagination, and therefore they really are out there and will make their presence known in the fullness of time.

I was planning to have a drink outside. Would you care to join me and some of the other workers in the grove?


  1. Smile and thank the man for his conversation, but visit the grove alone...
  2. Head outside to enjoy some fresh air and further conversation with the workers...