Vocabularies of vagueness

Linguists assure us that languages tend towards more precision and economy.

One word is better than two, it takes less time and effort. Short is sweet. Less is more.

Focused words hit better targets. Language is verbal archery. Higher precision is a strategic objective.

And yet we indulge in verbal vagueness. We immerse ourselves in equivocation, multiplying the foreground noise of our utterances.

What do the words ‘sociable’, ‘creative’ or ‘leader’ mean? We use such words to say something, but it is not always clear what. We’ve never used more words to say so little, when it should be the other way around.

One of the most significant philosophical works, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is, in its English translation and despite its pompous title, 75-pages long and takes about 30 minutes to read.

Why do we fear silence, the spaces between meaning, the void among the stars?

Among the things we sacralise, language is rarely there. We either resign ourselves to its self-regulation or we seek to box it in, shape and deshape it to fit our whims and wild delusions.

Ideas are usually simple, and they thrive through their simplicity and lapidarity. The most eternal truths are one-word utterances or single-line statements. The rest is noise, distracting and derailing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: