Thinking, Language, Beyond Language

In ‘Thinking about thinking’ I urged a greater use of ‘why’ questions – the challenging, threatening, subversive question – not only  towards others, to ourselves as well.

I now want to suggest that, as you delve into the ‘why’ you think this rather than that, you are likely, eventually, to sense the limitations of language, perhaps for the first time. In all its richness it can never go quite far enough, or deep enough, or precise enough to fully satisfy your questions.

At this stage, you could chuck it all in, and take up lawn bowls; or take up a god which we are told is ineffable and that we therefore have no need to understand.

Or you can begin, for the first time, to really come to grips with thinking, but with a language that you acknowledge is inevitably inadequate. Words can never be facts; and words can undermine us just as much as they aid us in exploring  the impossible but wonderful, exciting and essential task of thinking seriously about anything. The final word will always elude you; you have to accept that everything is incomplete. But to feel ‘really human’ and worthwhile, you stick at it. Your rewards are without limits.

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