Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Unspeakable Truth and the Lower Limits of Language

As we converge upon the center of Hell, language begins to break down altogether, as is to be expected, for it is located at the greatest ontological distance from the Word. At the bottom of the cosmos, God -- the Word -- just isn't that into you. Literally.

This is a precise but inverse analogy of what occurs as we approach the One, which also sheds language like so much water off a duck's back.

One might say that language is allegheirically swallowed up in Hell but drawn into Heaven; the former is the ego shouting (•) into the infinite void Ø, while the latter is the I-AMmaculate Voidgin (O) shouting with joyous labor pains out of ʘ. The former is abØrtion, the latter c♀♂nception.

Thus, in neither case can the object of language be "contained" -- similar to how physics breaks down at both ends of the cosmos, at the subatomic and metacosmic, the nonlOcal head and the lØcal TOE. In between it works just fine -- or is at least adequate to the needs of terrestrial survival.

As we should all know by now, this was the Big Idea behind the Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections of the bʘʘk.

For clearly, no language suffices to describe the state of affairs prior to cosmic manifestation, just as no description is adequate to convey what transcends language in the highest realm. Therefore, I had to invent a hyperdimensional language in order to stay one step ahead of the dictionary and to trick Gödel, who is always right on my tail.

Or, to put it another way, Coherence and obviousness are mutually exclusive (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

So even a poet as singular as Dante acknowledges the difficulty of describing his experience, the challenge of finding words Appropriate to describe that dismal pit / On which the other circles converge.

Dante goes on to say that I would press out the juice of my conception / More fully still: but since I have them not, / 'Tis with some fear I bring myself to speak. / The utmost depth of all the universe / Is not a theme befitting childish tongues.

O ye, condemned to utmost misery, / Where words can scarce suffice to tell your woe, / Better had ye been sheep or goats than men!


As Upton explains, "These realities are inexpressible like those of the supraformal planes of Paradise, but for the opposite reason."

It's a bit like trying to objectively describe the quantum world, which cannot be done, because the photons needed to observe it alter it. The order we bring to it is inseparable from the observer who orders it.

Thus, in order to describe his experience, Dante "must gloss over the true chaos of the reality he is encountering, which is why he fears he has failed to do justice to his subject" (Upton).

Here again, this is why I attempted -- however unsuccessfully -- to simultaneously evoke what I was describing in those two single ends of the Absurcular Book; in so doing, my only guide could be what was evoked in me, so there is no guarantee that it is evocative for others.

The paradox of Hell is that if we become what we behold, we can only lie about it. Language "sinks to the level of the chaos and darkness it is attempting to describe, and thus becomes unintelligible" (Upton).

Someone once said that Hell is a place were reason is absolutely impotent. Since language is the -- or an -- embodiment of Reason, we must somehow abandon language to enter Hell. Or, we are in Hell when reason and language fail us in a persecutory manner. There are many instances when the failure of language is a blessing.

Interestingly, Dante asks the Muses "to help him tell the story of Hell in such a way that the evil of it may be safely contained within his great poem, not let loose upon the world" (Upton).

Here again, this would represent a kind of inverse analogy of scripture. As the latter evokes and allows us to assimilate Light, truth, beauty, love and virtue, we can imagine a kind of diabolical scripture which could unwittingly "enter" and contaminate us.

Before you dismiss this as metaphorical, aren't we all concerned with what goes into us, and the effect it has upon the soul? Religious people are aware of this in a more or less direct way, whereas the irreligious tend to experience it in a displaced and dysfunctional manner -- for example, in their preoccupation with the body and with absurd threats to our health. It is difficult if not impossible to explain to such a person that I send my son to a religious school in order to avoid the deadly soul pollution of secular culture.

And what is political correctness but a weird caricature of spiritual purity?

To be a fisher of postmodern men, one must be aware of the fissure in postmodern man -- a fissure that results from the systematic abuse of language. And logocide always redounds to soulicide.


Say, how would you describe this place? I'm having a little difficulty finding le mot juste.

13 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

Since we're in the realm of the no-word, and we ends with this remarkable image down here by Dore, Bob, have you ever scene the whole hellish place mapped out in a diagram? And since we're here, do you think Dante made one? (before venturing into actually writing the Inferno, that is..)

3/22/2011 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"..to tell you the truth in all the excitement, I kind of lost track myself..."

3/22/2011 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Sure. Many.

3/22/2011 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"One might say that language is allegheirically swallowed up in Hell but drawn into Heaven; the former is the ego shouting (•) into the infinite void Ø, while the latter is the I-AMmaculate Voidgin (O) shouting with joyous labor pains out of ʘ. The former is abØrtion, the latter c♀♂nception."

And awesOme to bewhOled.

3/22/2011 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Wow! I can't believe we can get Google down here...

Thanks, Bob.

3/22/2011 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Words fail, so I left this Canto to the turtles.

3/22/2011 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

It is turtles all the way down!

3/22/2011 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Hey, Sting called. He wants his dream back.

3/22/2011 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

He'll have to get in line with Harry Connick, Jr.

3/22/2011 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Sting said...

I used to be kind of cool, once...

3/22/2011 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

re: Magnus at 1:17

"And the sooner the better!"

wv: exampi

3/22/2011 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Inn less turtleous news, I have noticed that devils tend to eat people head first, contrary to what some might expect. But we may be coming to that.

3/22/2011 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

'Colonel Qaddafi once famously quipped that Shakespeare, or Sheikh Zubeir, was actually an Arab migrant'
[[and pancho villa thought Dante was Don Te?]]

from times article on captive reporters overthere

wv
snuriate
seems a perfectly good verb for these times

3/22/2011 05:09:00 PM  

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