My problem with words.

Our brains can become overly oriented to words. It’s easy these days to get lost in them — to have words define reality, rather than having reality define them.

This moment, right now, is the most valuable thing we have. And I realize that spending time on the internet is maybe not the best use of something so precious.

With that in mind, I plan on writing in a way that (hopefully) will communicate something right from the start, and then build from there. I’d like to make the first sentence of each post useful. And with any luck, I’ll do the same with the first paragraph, and the first page. No posts will likely be more than a page or two in length, and shouldn’t take much more than 5 minutes of your time. Ideas and experiences that go deeper will be revisited over many posts, and may grow out of this blog over the course of weeks or even years.

This way, if you have time for only one sentence, I’ll do my best to make it time well spent. Same if you have time for just one paragraph, or one page. I have no desire to be a professional writer or academic — as a “practical primitivist” the focus of my life is living, not writing. And I hope that the focus of your life may be living, not reading.

Foraging and gardening cultures generally have little to no use for writing and reading, and (contrary to the notion that “primitive people” were “too primitive” to be able to figure out how to create writing) people usually don’t invent what they have no use for.

Such primal folks live in a personal world, where their relationships are direct and immediate. “Media”, as in something that mediates — an “intermediary” — would be a rare thing in their experience. And from what I’ve seen, I’d say there is value in that.

Written language has it’s uses, for sure, but we loose something if we use it too much. Our brains can become overly oriented to words. Words are supposed to point to experience, but experience is something we must have directly for it to be truly meaningful. It’s easy these days to get lost in words — to have them define reality, rather than having reality define them. And, of course, once you have people (professional writers, academics, journalists, etc.) whose livelihood depends on words, you get a growing proliferation of words. The important thing then becomes producing words, and having the experience of words, rather than what the words point to. We see this when an academic uses a whole book to publish one simple idea, when a journalist focuses more on being professionally rewarded than on being truthful, or when a fiction writer generates words by the millions just to provide folks with an entertaining escape from reality.

Then there’s the religious phenomena of people “believing” in the words of various spiritual teachers (whether the teacher is a “guru”, a “priest”, a “preacher”, or a “holy book”) and thinking they know something about spiritual reality merely because they believe what was written or said. I’m not saying teachers have no value, but thinking we know, merely because we’ve been told, is one of the quickest ways to open ourselves up to being lied to.

While I hope to use words with at least a little bit of skill, none of that stuff is what I want to do here. I hope to say what I have to say, let you read what you want to read, and then let us both get back to more important matters.

So if you find yourself spending more time reading this blog than sitting by a fire or walking through the woods, we’ve both screwed up.

Alright, enough said. I’m going outside now. Hope you’ll join me.

Wild peace,

Glenn

One Comment to “My problem with words.”

  1. I really like what you had to say about language. Even as a teacher of language (I teach Spanish), I have always felt that words, written and spoken, have power in them. The over-use, abuse, ‘re-appropriation of bad terms’, PC language, etc. in our society has diminished those powers, whether we are discussing written or spoken language.

    I look forward to reading more in your blog, but I will make an effort not to spend too much time on it and get outside more :)

    Best wishes,
    Marlon
    Asheville, NC

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