Sunday, February 17, 2008

Boundaries

Posted by Teresa at 12:56 PM
I few months ago I blogged about a book I was reading. Well, I've
spent so much time keeping up with the campaign coverage I still haven't
finished reading it and plus I have a short attention span. Here's another
quote from the book How Language Works that really makes one think:
But poets are not the only ones who push language beyond its
normal limits. All who engage in literary or quasi literary activity,
from novelists and dramatists to journalists and commentators,
face similar problems. Nor is the wrestle with words restricted to
literature. Humorists, both amateur and professional, are another
group who constantly tease new effects out of old words, in their
search for good punch-lines. And a further example is provided by
the title of a book by the German theologian Paul van Buren, about
how people use the word God as part of religious discourse: The
Edges of Language. In his view, theistic language is "a case of walking
language's borders' - an attempt to express insight at the very edge
of the "platform of language," where, if we try to go further, "we fall
off into a misuse of words, into nonsensical jabbering, into the void
where the rules give out'. Theologians, like poets, it seems, are
continually striving to say what cannot be said.
I must admit as a believer in God it does get difficult to explain with mere
words the supernatural. How does one explain an entity that has no boundaries
or limits to a world with boundaries- including the boundaries of language?
Perhaps, there's not just a ideological rift between believers and unbelievers
but also a language barrier.

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