theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Editorials

February 13, 2013

A language fit for living

Ada —  

Nothing is what it appears.

The solid looking countertop on which my computer monitor is sitting (made my Kevin Hunt and his brother almost 15 years ago) is actually mostly empty space.  The countertop is composed of wood and formica.  The wood and formica are made of molecules.  The molecules are made of atoms.  

Atoms, often pictured as solid, little billiard balls, are made of protons, neutrons, electrons, and God knows what else.  Even if we pretend that these particles are little billiard balls themselves — which they are not — the electrons orbit the neutron-proton composed nucleus at a distance relatively large to the diameter of the nucleus and so the atoms themselves are mostly empty space.Therefore, this solid-looking countertop is actually mostly not there.  

My mind has created a symbol for the countertop which takes its place in my thoughts.  This symbol is a much different thing than the actual object.  The symbol expresses solidness while the reality of the countertop is mostly empty space. Everything is a lie. My whole life is based upon lies.  I can believe nothing.

But ...

I am still typing on the same computer monitor and it has not fallen to the floor — not in the last 5 minutes, not in the last 15 years.

The solidness of the images formed in my mind are a result of this.  They reflect the experience I’ve had with the world over my life and, indeed, the experience the human race has had over its existence.

Scientists — relatively recently in terms of human history — have created and used tools to extend their senses beyond what had been needed for survival in nature.  This has revealed to them things which had not been seen before and things they have struggled to express in language.  They’ve taken words from dead languages — Greek and Latin to name two —added new meanings to old words, drifted into uses of metaphor that would make a poet proud or make a poet blush.

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