If I describe how I feel, having never thought about my emotional response to the topic, do I unearth my feelings that were present before, or do I form them in the moment?
There is something very simple yet bizarre that the unfathomable range of human thought and emotion can be squeezed into a handful of characters; say 26 for example. Simple shapes in a limited range of combinations and patterns to represent physically all things, including that which we are yet to comprehend or understand. Its strange that you rarely hear of people complaining of the limits that language brings; that writing or speaking to express ones-self is the most widely used form of communication – despite its vast restrictions. Furthermore its possibly a unquantifiable task to try and determine how many alternative interpretations can be taken from one speech, one poem, one story – let alone a lifetime of conversation. 26 letters, 10 numbers, a collections of other symbols within algebra and grammer are meant to be enough tools to describe, explain, question and teach everything present and subject to, the cumulative range of every human consciousness, mind and imagination, now, then and indefinitely.
The power of text can change history – for past events are mostly only recorded in such a way that is subject to the writers’ intention, knowledge and ability to portray the events. When all we have is text or language to explain something unseen, it has the most incredible power to determine the minds opinion. We only know of what survived. So how does this translate to language describing the unknown of the future – does language have the same shaping effect as it does on the past? If both are simplified to be considered outside of the current time, and therefore unknown to us, and if one (the past) is controlled or influenced by text, it might be true for anything outside the realm of now (past or future). Perhaps this means we can not predict but control the future if we find and harness the power in our own language and text.
My love for books is that the story is always there, suspended forever in the lines of a book you can open at any time. ‘He was free falling towards the ground’. The power a book gives you is to control how often, when and for how long this man falls. Every time a book is opened to this text, every time it’s read and the reader stalls, or then closes the book – the man is falling, for infinity within this one line, those 7 words. Wonderful, horrible, disturbing, delightful, tense, delicious, scary and beautiful moments, ideas, characters and places are frozen in time, instantly thawed and refrozen as and when the reader desires. What immense control language gives us over fictional characters. And yet – characters are not always fictional, are always based on something. Is there then an exponentially increasing level of control over the real character the closer the text comes to reality? Can the lines of text or language as literal, visual and auditory subjects be blurred with the solid lines of flesh, concrete, bark and water? If a text describes a real tree, but details fictionally a demise which is entirely possible – is the fate of the actual tree effected?
The emotive power of text is fascinating to me, in 100 words you can create the darkest moment of someone’s’ life, a beautiful scene, a tense conversation, a birth, a death, a journey across town, or out of our solar system, a moment, a day, lifetime or memory. In 100 words you could create anything, and evoke your chosen emotional response, likely to be uniform amongst the majority of your readers. Writing, speaking, using language gives each individual the power to effect the emotion of others, assuming the ‘others’ surrenders themselves to your language and expression, and gives you the power over them. Everyone is a dictator, everyone tries to use their linguistic powers to influence the position of those reading or listening; to teach, to manipulate, to challenge, to confuse, to control, to tease, to age, to affect. Just a pool of 26 letters and a few additional symbols used 3726 times to create this text. Will you give me the power to have it effect your mind, opinion or understanding? Do you even consciously have a choice? Have I set you a trap by publishing this, tempting you to read, taking the power over your own emotional response without you noticing, but been open about what I’ve done, and in doing so controlled your rejection of my initial control?!