Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts.”
That’s a pretty amazing sentence right there, but then again Nietzsche had a tendency to say and write things with a pretty high shock value.
When you think about it, though, he has a point. What do we really use words for? A common answer to this would be that we use them to express our thoughts, ideas and sentiments. But do we really do that all the time? Do we not use words to instead to convey and communicate what we wish was within us?
We use them to articulate that which cannot otherwise be articulated. Literary language calls attention to itself, it is beautiful in and of itself, and clarity and clear-cut explicitness is not its main objective. The beauty lies in the confusion, the seemingly arbitrary collage of letters. It awakens you.
Much of what we do in life, on a day-to-day basis, is done unconsciously, and literary language enables and allows us to go through the experiences again consciously. This is what I think Nietzsche was trying to say. The words we use when we write are an assault, an undermining, on the language of everyday-ness and they force us to re-engage with the realities of the world. They communicate the numbness and oblivion that’s taken over our hearts, and in the act of writing about it, we become aware of this unawareness.
It’s a remarkable process, and we go through it everytime we write down even a single word.
On a lighter and completely irrelevant note, Team Canada (Men’s hockey) won the highly-yearned-for Gold Medal last night at the Winter Olympics. It was a nail-biting game that kept you at the edge of the seat and all the other cliches you can think of, and the winning goal was made in overtime. Good job, Team Canada, it really was about time.