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1/22/07

2:58 PM Sitting at work is much better than sitting in class, because here at least I can check e-mail, chat, and read the news and articles.

8:26 PM To fall for you would be the fall of me. But in this life we have so many devices we lean on to defy blame and culpability. In love’s kitchen, fate is often whored out as the guilty one, to be blamed for that deliberate misstep. Going in you have a hunch nothing good will come of it, but still you touch the fire, and when the first burn doesn’t burn enough, you, in the ecstasy of foolish consciousness, dive greedily in to be scorched from all corners by flames of rapture.

When you emerge you’re brittle and jaded, but after attending to your wounds, when you sit and reflect, you discover there’s little resentment and even lesser regret. Who’s to blame for the way it went down? You knew going in what it was you’re going into, and you’re still man enough to accept responsibility for your actions, however impulsive and out-of-brain they may be. And add to that the sweet poetry of fate’s “it was meant to be,” and you emerge as a poet my friend, stung by life’s bittersweet venom and romantically grateful for the way it feels under your skin.

8:50 PM You’ll never know what I’m thinking, because I’ll never tell you. If you venture to divine I’ll simply deny everything. You’ll become so very agitated but still you’ll return, because the burn is too strong to ignore and too tempting to resist.

And so it must be for you, because that’s how it is for me.

9:13 PM Restlessness has me ruffled, so I publish recklessly. Writing about this and that, I try to expunge the clot that’s the thought of you, disturbing the flow of steady imagery that’s necessary for a calm mind. Instead, violent vivid images assault the frontal cortex and the state of disharmony gets an extension on life.

I want to know when reality turned into vision into memory, then a longing that’s a sweet craving. Yesterday has me living for tomorrow, and today wishes it never happened.

9:22 PM Steven Pinker on language.

From article:

“We have to do two things with language. We’ve got to convey a message and we’ve got to negotiate what kind of social relationship we have with someone,” Pinker says in a telephone interview from his home in Cambridge, Mass.

Even something as seemingly straightforward as asking for the salt involves thinking and communicating at two levels, which is why we utter such convoluted requests as, “If you think you could pass the salt, that would be great.”

Says Pinker: “It’s become so common that we don’t even notice that it is a philosophical rumination rather than a direct imperative. It’s a bit of a social dilemma. On the one hand, you do want the salt. On the other hand, you don’t want to boss people around lightly.

“So you split the difference by saying something that literally makes no sense while also conveying the message that you’re not treating them like some kind of flunky.”

Consider this sentence:

“He attacked my position and I defended it.” It uses the metaphor of argument as war. Or how about “this program isn’t going anywhere,” which uses the metaphor of progress as motion.

Says Pinker: “Look at almost any passage and you’ll find that a paragraph has five or six metaphors in it. It’s not that the speaker is trying to be poetic, it’s just that that’s the way language works.

“Rather than occasionally reaching for a metaphor to communicate, to a very large extent communication is the use of metaphor,” he says.

“It could be that 95 per cent of our speech is metaphorical, if you go back far enough in language.”

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