With fear and trembling

Those who are not in constant awe, surely some tragedy will befall them. Lao Tzu

To approach the written letters in a book is to let the mind surf on the edge of endless possibility. Sound is finite, and so is the image on the flickering screen. But the written word is protean, infinitely insondable. Its unfathomability is matched only by its awesomeness. For in the presence of the sign, the spirit bows down in blessed fear and titillating trembling. In many ways, writing should never have been invented. The world’s greatest accident was the human adventure into script. For by letting the sign do the work that the human voice used to do was to unleash upon the world a monster greater than anything the human mind had ever begotten.

As I write these words, I wonder how it is possible at all for letters to enlist themselves into meaning. Words never leave the realm of possibility, they are forever trapped on the edge of virtuality. To let them escape is to embark on an odyssey whose terminus is a kind of homecoming, an act of worship in the temple of a strange but compelling deity.

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