Conversations About Books 1 – Words

25 Feb

“You every time hog all the conversation. Today I want to start a conversation, you can participate, of course you need to participate else it would be a discourse, a monologue which is not the same thing as a conversation.” She said as she sat down in her usual place

She gestured towards the waiter; they didn’t even now need to place an order. Waiter knew their favorite brand of beer. Soon the beer was placed in front of her, she took a gulp and continued “A friend of mine, now don’t ask who, we are not having that kind of conversation today, once said, conversation is a state of inequality.”

“That’s true, conversation is flow from two sides trying to reach a state of equilibrium, and best relationships are where the stage is never achieved. The day such a state is achieved it is end of relationship. Is this what we are discussing today?” he asked

“No, not really, it is more about lack of conversation or misunderstood communications.” She said and continued “Some writers are termed as difficult, abstract, and abstruse. This complexity is blamed on their language that they don’t employ everyday language, they are deliberately difficult, and they are branded show-offs just for their choice of words to express themselves, brushed aside egoist streaks. Now that’s a philistine attitude”

“Philistine?”

 “Don’t mock and hear me out, else I will lose on my flow” She said a little peeved.

Then she turned and glared at the waiter for slow service and still missing next beer bottle. In the next fraction it was there, she took a sip, paused to gather her thoughts and continued “When we read a scientific article, not that many of us make that effort, but if we do in those moments of insanity and cannot understand an iota of it we simply shrug our shoulders and say we are not trained to understand this. It is acceptable because it is not considered an abstract concept but a lack of knowledge on part of the reader. People accept knowledge has to be acquired which comes from training, diligence, that it takes effort, toiling sometimes for years, to be able to comprehend the complexity of such an idea. But language people tend to dismiss, rather take it for granted. They take comfort in their mediocrity and mock at what they don’t know. Even within their limitation they assume a stance of an expert, anything beyond is considered redundant and unnecessary. Their own personal limitation becomes a limit within which writer should be confined. They at no point see the vastness of choices to express a thought or necessity of those words, the beauty of language that gives ideas wings and the limitlessness of language to create new thoughts, new ideas, which form with the formation of that word. Each word that exists is an idea and in it is hidden infinite other ideas. People make no effort with language and fault the writer and his effort rather than themselves. World can be understood with only words and with the right choice of words, any other word would contaminate the idea or rather become something else, something different. Writer never chooses a word when he could have employed another, simpler or better, either way you see, to say his idea. Idea selects its own words, those and none other. Words are selected consciously and deliberately to form that idea, as the thought formulated in mind and finally expressed on paper. If the reader is unable to comprehend the thought, the fault lies within and within his limitation not with the writer” She hurried through the last few words, she could sense his restlessness               

“We have quite a state of inequality here, today would be without doubt a day of conversation” He said “Though in your powerful emotional discourse and the argument initially does sounds irrefutable; yet it still has some scope for argument. For me the starting point would be to try to answer a simple question, do words give strength to the idea or idea gives strength to the words?”

“Obviously words give strength to the idea, without the right words idea will never take any shape. Whether it is seen as a brilliant idea or relegated to the dustbin of history would be decided with words” She said

“But you would agree words something make even mediocre or sometimes evil ideas credible. Hitler and his anti-Semitic ideas almost destroyed the world. The world we see today has its roots in those words” He asked

“Now you are mixing two different aspects, ideas with emotions. Sometimes words ignite certain primitive emotions, but an emotional outburst or reaction does not take away the mediocrity of the idea or lack of emotional response does not mean idea lacks resonance”

“Are you not contradicting yourself? You said if the idea doesn’t resonate, weakness lies in choice of words. Idea cannot survive in isolation for it to take wings it must reach its audience, which is from words, its destiny depends on its presentation not just its existence. If its existence was enough than words are immaterial, idea is enough but in your opinion that is not enough” he asked her, in a voice which was equally mocking and challenging

She smiled “As I had thought, you would miss the crux of the argument and feed yourself on the crumbs. Why do you get satisfied with the edges, just because they seem attractive doesn’t mean that’s all that exists on the plate? Crumbs are not all that the bread offers. I shall try to simplify the argument for your sake, idea can be expressed only with a certain set of words, idea selects its words to demystify itself and manifest itself, choose a wrong set and idea loses its vitality. It’s not an argument that ideas should be presented in a manner which makes it difficult to comprehend but ideas which are presented in that language, with those set of words needed those words and those words only and none other could have expressed that idea. People need to equip themselves better to understand the idea, rather than rubbishing an idea because of the way it has been expressed makes it difficult for them to comprehend. Understood now?”

“Not really. Though I believe I have somehow been insulted, I shall let my ego take control and I would go for hara-kiri before I accept defeat.” He said trying to present a brave front, though shaken a little “I am assuming argument is not restricted to just literary work but any form of idea, so when a new technology or medical invention/discovery is made, what gives it more credence, the benefit like new cancer drug or its scientific literature”

“Chee, you want me to answer that? Obviously both depending on the audience but right words for the right audience will make it relevant. It still is about only an appropriate set of words” She said with a triumphant smile, followed with a big gulp to finish her bottle.

“Humbled, my dear lady”

“2 more bottles, these are on me”

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