Rebecca Solnit On Lies And Language

D9DDEB89-B59D-4B67-90B7-A55719F6068D.jpegRebecca Solnit (June 24, 1961 -)

There are so many ways to tell a lie. You can lie by ignoring whole regions of impact, omitting crucial information, or unhitching cause and effect; by falsifying information by distortion and disproportion, or by using names that are euphemisms for violence or slander for legitimate activities, so that the white kids are “hanging out” but the Black kids are “loitering” or “lurking.” Language can erase, distort, point in the wrong direction, throw out decoys and distractions. It can bury the bodies or uncover them.

Niels Bohr On Language And Religion

ae9e7-img_2602Niels Bohr (October 7, 1885–November 18, 1962)

We ought to remember that religion uses language in quite a different way from science. The language of religion is more closely related to the language of poetry than to the language of science. True, we are inclined to think that science deals with information about objective facts, and poetry with subjective feelings. Hence we conclude that if religion does indeed deal with objective truths, it ought to adopt the same criteria of truth as science. But I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won’t get us very far.

Jeanette Winterson On Language

   Jeanette Winterson   (August 27, 1959 -) Jeanette Winterson (August 27, 1959 -)

For me, language is a freedom. As soon as you have found the words with which to express something, you are no longer incoherent, you are no longer trapped by your own emotions, by your own experiences; you can describe them, you can tell them, you can bring them out of yourself and give them to somebody else. That is an enormously liberating experience, and it worries me that more and more people are learning not to use language; they’re giving in to the banalities of the television media and shrinking their vocabulary, shrinking their own way of using this fabulous tool that human beings have refined over so many centuries into this extremely sensitive instrument. I don’t want to make it crude, I don’t want to make it into shopping-list language, I don’t want to make it into simply an exchange of information: I want to make it into the subtle, emotional, intellectual, freeing thing that it is and that it can be.

 

 

Stanley Kunitz On Language

   Stanley Kunitz   (July 29, 1905– May 14, 2006)
Stanley Kunitz (July 29, 1905– May 14, 2006)

I used to sit in that green Morris chair and open the heavy dictionary on my lap, and find a new word every day. It was a big word, a word like eleemosynary or phantasmagoria – some word that, on the tongue, sounded great to me, and I would go out into the fields and I would shout those words, because it was so important that they sounded so great to me. And then eventually I began incorporating them into verses, into poems. But certainly my thought in the beginning was that there was so much joy playing with language that I couldn’t consider living without it.

🎂Happy Birthday Stanley Kunitz  (July 29, 1905– May 14, 2006) In Memoriam🌹 

Knut Hamsun On Language

   Knut Hamsun   (August 4, 1859 – February 19, 1952)
Knut Hamsun (August 4, 1859 – February 19, 1952)

Language must resound with all the harmonies of music. The writer must always, at all times, find the tremulous word which captures the thing and is able to draw a sob from my soul by its very rightness. A word can be transformed into a color, light, a smell. It is the writer’s task to use it in such a way that it serves, never fails, can never be ignored.