Saturday, 15 December 2007

Language is just the tool, in the path for achieving meaning within ourselves. Nothing more.

There is a question in the Responses to Miscellaneous Questions of Eric Faragher website of "Philosophy Articles For Debate", discussing about what constrains and defines the possible. It is not the actual question that concerns me, as much as what has been said in the attempt to give an answer to the question.

I got in a state of confusion, unease and helplessness as both participants' arguments muddied the meaning I should have arrived by following their discussion. At that sort of state I 'left' their discussion.

When I 'returned' the first thing that came to my mind were the words, symbolic systems. referring to Godel's incompleteness theorem, mentioned by Eric Faragher:

"I think Godel's point is that all symbolic systems which attempt to be comprehensive, will eventually produce a paradoxical contradiction, due to the very nature of comprehensive symbolic systems."

I found most of Eric's and Mike's arguments writhed with paradoxical contradictions, which I blamed for feeling confused and disorientated. I suspect both participants, as well as any other individual following the discussion feel likewise. At a lot younger age I felt an uncomfortable numbness at the back of my head, whenever I contemplated about infinity, universe and other similar stuff, something along the lines of, I cannot compute. A feeling of unease disturbed the balance of my mind.

I would rephrase Eric's introduction about philosophy as being boring, to philosophy as being confusing, perplexing and finally becoming scary for a great number of people.

All these feelings, nagging side-effects while individuals attempt to arrive to meaningful assertions about themselves and for their own sake, as this is what it boils down. Meaning belongs in our own heads only and nowhere else. We are not building some "objective" imaginary world but our very own world, alas with a tool, language, that is not as perfect as we think it is.

Godel's point applies foremost for language itself, a purely symbolic system in a vain attempt to be comprehensive, and as Eric points out, it is bound to end up into paradoxical contradictions. Someone should stick to language, as far as the words, the symbols used, serve their purpose, in achieving meaning, and then words should be discarded, thrown away. To follow where they lead you, to be comprehensive, it will not produce anything meaningful. It would lead to a structure which would not have anything to do with reality, it would distort reality and you will end up confused and disillusioned.

Achieving meaning for one's own sake, it is not, to solve the mysteries of the world for human kind, but to achieve meaning for yourself and that is as far as the use of complex language should go. Once you achieve meaning for yourself, whatever that is, you let yourself off language. Overindulgence in language as well as, overindulgence in what philosophers in the past said, quoting to the letter or to the last comma, like they were the holy scriptures or something similar, would only lead in perplexing, meaningless outcomes and would not confer to the meaning one makes of the world.

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