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 cut away at the substance until all that remains is the image you wish to present. What we have cut away bears some significance, so we have escaped talking about the whole of existence. Although, I suppose the image itself constitutes a whole; it constitutes an intelligible unity that cannot be broken apart without some loss of information. Maybe we haven't escaped that original topic.

Actually, the idea of representing some particular thing is 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, or even in numbers - mathematical models only describe phenomena, the numbers do not constitute the things we speak about, hence the imperfections. Whether we use words, numbers, or any other symbols, the description is invariably different from the described.

At some point the words must be discarded, for we never intended to pass jumbles of letters between us. They point to something; when we have that thing firm in our grasp, the words may retire, their purpose served. Which means there is another party in the dialogue - you, me, the jumble of articulated sound, and then the thing itself. It is the star of the show, and we are straining to see it on the stage. That vision we make out, having understood it, we can later reformulate in practical words for someone else.

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 find it a lot more entertaining to believe that anything coherent is possible, and if something is possible then it will necessarily happen in the fullness of time.

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...