Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I am more than words... I think.

I read and adored the David Foster Wallace fiction we read, Good Old Neon. One idea that really stuck with me was his description of this one moment with the psychiatrist and how deeply he delved into how he was unable to ever accurately describe his thoughts. They moved in too many directions at once and too many thoughts occur in less than a second to possibly convey in conversation. This a problem I have tried (with less success than him) to articulate before, and I loved him for writing it succinctly.

Then, reading Eagleton, there's a connection! In LT, it talks about language shaping and creating reality. Experiences exist only after they have been expressed. The swirling thoughts in Good Old Neon would seem to contradict this. Of course, I never know when Eagleton actually stands behind something and when he's just presenting it as an existing view, but I would side with the narrator in the novel on this one. Something about the concept of language creating things is unsettling to me. Probably because I have experienced many things that I've never told anyone about. But they still happened, did they not? Or did they? Does it matter?

Now that I'm writing, I sort of get the LT side of the picture. If I do something and don't tell anyone, I'm a falling tree in an empty forest. I might make a noise but it doesn't matter. What it comes down to is which is more important: the self or the connection. If the self is important enough then even unexpressed ideas and experiences are real. If the connection trumps all then only that which we have shared exists, for all intents and purposes. As an only child, the notion that only a connection matters is a little scary to me. Pretty much everything I did as a child was in my own head; I definitely grew up in my own mind more than reality. But there it is again! I implied that what's in my own head is not reality.

The level of general philosophy which can be drawn from LT sometimes astounds me.

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