Once I tried to write here about reading and its importance through history, but it swiftly became twaddle and I abandoned it. A second time I tried to assemble something about the grand passage of knowledge and humour through time and history but that descended into a treatise on custard and its relative significance to puddings in the contemporary Western world. That never saw the light of day either and now it’s time just to flow a little on words in general.
Throughout all but the most recent part of history all progress was governed by words – and the mathematics behind projectile trajectories which we shall currently omit – instead of the numbers that govern science as we know it today. Words were what drove people on, and logicians were among the pre-eminent minds of their days. Is it possible that by losing that emphasis on words that we’ve lost something incredibly special, and that in pursuing numbers to their inevitable conclusion that we are pursuing quantity over quality in a bleak rush to survival?
You see, pretentious twaddle is never far away. I think there’s a special supply ready for bloggers and people with theses to their name; Double twaddle for the price here at the Quirky Muffin!
One of the interesting things about ‘Wordspace’ – my newest story – as a concept is that of distilling words down to their core values and then using them as the characters themselves. Even though I will never probably do that concept justice, it is in all likelihood an original one. If it’s not original then please tell me in the comments so I can give credit where credit is due. Indeed there is already credit due in part to the Bookworld of Jasper Fforde which is partly similar but also very different to what I’m trying to build in the Wordspace. An especially intriguing aspect is that of words whose meanings have changed over time, which has to have some potential!
Getting back to words in general, have you ever stopped to wonder at what must have been happening when that first primitive person scratched a symbol in the dust or on a wall to indicate the sun, or water, or poison and the incredible advancement that it represented? For the first time information could be written down and preserved, instructions for following days could be set out all at once. As much as timekeeping and counting allowed agriculture, so did written language. Great minds like Dickens, Shakespeare, Jung and Darwin all owe everything to the first few of our primitive forebears making their marks on the world. That is awesome and also frightening. In the beginning there was a word, but maybe not the one you were thinking of.
Words are powerful, great shackled realities and abstracts borrowed and translated in ink, stone and print for all to see and learn. Great assemblies of words get passed on forwards in time so that no art, no knowledge and no entertainment is truly lost. Even if our species fails, our words might yet survive and welcome travellers from far distant worlds with our follies, our lessons and all our worst jokes. Yes, even as Ziggy and his comrade Spottlab emerge from their ship, ready to look through our libraries and plumb the depths of humanity’s knowledge, there is a very good chance that the first thing they’ll stumble over is a joke book and a story about a man leading his horse to water but not being able to make it scuba dive.
So endeth the twaddle.