Words in Progress

Words in Progress

Words … aren’t just words. No matter what the intention – or lack thereof – words have, do and will hold power. They shape our stories, define this and explain that. They’re never neutral for they are intrinsically shaped, specifically moulded and actively nurtured to have meaning. Thread, pull and draw them together and you begin to create reality. When meaning and knowledge, understanding and learning dance amidst the edges and boundaries, breadth and confines of the defined, those who have and those who do not often find themselves looking across walls and barriers, blades and barrels.

You may be apolitical, may not like democracy, socialism, communism, capitalism, this ‘ology or that ‘osophy, but the act of speaking is political. The ritual of writing and the practice of reading are laden with depth that too often goes unnoticed.

We live in a world never so inundated by grammar and letters, characters and letters, words and syntax. Whether you’re twirling from one digital device to another, flipping through this magazine or that paper, words are everywhere. Literacy has never been more important so as to make sense of the cacophony of voices bidding, cajoling and tempting you with the illusion of time’s deficit.

In this privilege of required sense making, as words cascading everywhere, we’re losing our span to attend to trending videos, reality TV, political discourse now become sport sound byte and meaning confined to 140 characters and even less when retweeted. In the discord of competing meaning, it is often easy to not drill down, dig deep or critique and analyse voices that are intending to convince of you this when what they mean is that.

  • So why this bramble and brumble, rumble and stumble through words, meaning and making in a world filled with frequencies?
  • Why point out the obvious inundation of channels that you can surf, yet still feel content deprived?
The Mystery is Afoot

The Mystery is Afoot
Image: Zhang Wenjie

It’s simple, well at least from my perspective. I’m trying to ground myself in a narrative, story, vision offered by a rabbi now long dead, who continues to challenge us to awakening. A guy who didn’t downplay, patronise or paternalise when speaking.

Where your words go, your mouth follows. And when your mouth stops flapping, action unfolds. When the words we use and the actions we take do not jive, shimmy, grind or trot, not only is our intention in question, but the very message we care to transmit comes under scrutiny.

They’ll always be with us – he taught – the marginalised, the oppressed and the weary. How we respond and reply, let go and lift up is the mirror into which we gaze. Others may seek glory dressed in bills and stocks, coins and bling, but what we do when we stop using words is the gauge to which solidarity is lived and liberation is experienced.

For I’m never going be free if what I say binds you to the deck. I may find myself standing atop your chained self, thinking this ship isn’t going to sink, even though the water’s ankle lapping as the engine groans, sputters & drowns. This isn’t a game, but it’s one hell of an adventure:

  • When that chain breaks and water we tread leads to a shore unmet …
  • When our hands entwine and I realise I’m not me and you aren’t you …
  • When our feet stand in warm sand as we face one another …
  • We may just realise liberation’s land beckoning us to realise that you is I and me is we…