Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I am beginning to get the feeling that what language truly is, is beyond what words can convey. We made the distinction in class between speaking and saying. Speech seems to simply be noise or words, which may in fact say something, but this saying something is never substantial. Saying on the other hand is making present, or made appear, and is not limited to words or vocalizations. We can say much by being completely silent, because the meaning behind that silence is present as much as when we say something with our mouths (I think this saying may extend to things such as sign language, and even hand motions, such as a peace sign or a handshake). The logos is the possibility of language in so much as what is said is already what was going to be said. In order to speak (say) authentically it is important to know the person you are in a conversation with. Many times when I am with my friends we can simply say one word and immediately bring to mind a whole plethora of ideas, such as an inside joke, that could not be present if I were conversing with someone else. When hear someone say something we try to hear what is beyond the words that are being spoken (something I experience in most of my philosophy classes in that what is being said is usually much deeper than what is being spoken). Alternately we need to express what we are meaning into what we are saying, in order that someone can fully understand what is being said.

My only question is that if we try to listen to what is being said, the meaning, over what is being spoken, the words, then how do we know what is really being said? This might go back to knowing who you are having a conversation with in order to speak authentically, but I think this could still lead to some problems in interpretation. So I am wondering, we need to say what we mean, but isn't meaning open to seemingly endless interpretation on the listeners part? On the other hand, how could we have a conversation with anyone if no one ever understood what the other was saying? This may really just be the logos at work, showing us what we want to say and showing us what has been said. If language really is the house of being then by saying something we are in fact inviting someone into our being, so that they can understand what is being said. But even here, as Heidegger pointed out, "What about when you are speaking different languages? (not verbatim)", if language is the house of being then wouldn't speakers of different languages never be able to understand each other? I can see how this could definitely be a problem...

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