Skip to main content

In praise of the written word

Said
A word, said, is like the air that carries it... there, but ever changing. You know it is there, but 'which' air? May be it was made of something else the moment it was said. But now the memory has mutated the word with memories and assumption. It dissolves into maybes and blank spaces.
What were you saying? Sorry the word didn't reach my cognition. Maybe it crashed against my ear and fell down. Let me look for it, while you go on with utterly temporary utterances that die right after they are born.

Without a keen ear, a spoken word is a still born child.
Keen ears and intelligence are the oxygen for meaning making with words.
Unless one writes them down. 
A spoken word is seldom alone. It carries with it movements, loudness, intonation. They are made of worldviews and emotions... exceptionally unique worldviews and emotions. exceptionally untranslatable unique worldviews and emotions.
The rational word is but a small actor in the grand theater of emotions and utopias.The uniqueness of theater gives a false sense of completeness of thought. "They don't understand me." The ego protects the worldview by hiding inconsistencies in the thought behind the spoken 'word'.

There is only one way of  finding out the inconsistencies - write it down.


Written
A word, written, is as firm and permanent as the medium in which it is written. For the here and now, when the context doesn't change all that much, a written word remains where it was supposed to be. Preceded by and followed with other words, the written word is a prisoner of linear meaning that has been made. If a common language is understood commonly (and that is one big IF), it is even possible to say and convey and be understood in exactly the manner one intends to.

A written word helps not only in conveying a meaning, but also in arriving at one.
We humans are still quite primitive. Still grappling with meaning about self and about other things. We wonder and we ponder. Our wondering and pondering remain enigmatic questions. We get comfortable with the vagueness of enigmas. We return to these enigmas like one returns to bed, instead of operating on these enigmas with sharp curiosity.
Enigmas remain enigmas as long as we do not nail them down with written words.

More urgently, as an advertising person, i see the relevance of written word even more glaringly. I see people filling up with optimism with ideas and words spoken among people who can imagine things. the imagination supplements, bolsters, buoys up the unformed ideas with optimism and assumptions.
And then things come crashing down with bitter disappointment when inconsistencies become apparent. If only one wrote down what one thought and one thought through what was written.

I have gotten into a new habit at work, that i think is a good habit. putting thoughts into a mail or a document right after a meeting/ briefing. Committing thought to written words before springing ideas to a gathering of people.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why I repair my shoe

I have 3 shoes. One formal, One sport shoe and another a mix of the two. The last one is particularly awesome, cause of its uniqueness. It looks like a formal shoe, but is as comfortable and flexible as a sport shoe. I bought it for my first job in Mumbai. I was newly rich and was expected to behave like one. I found this gem of pure black leather in a Colaba Causeway showroom. Quite a find. But its been almost two years now and the shoe shows its age. For all its awesomeness, its quite a weak shoe, to give out so early. I have stitched it, got new laces, and strengthened its sole. It doesn't look shiny anymore cause the leather has suffered from a few hostile trespasses. I think, like a man, things too should be allowed to carry their scars. Shiny scar-less men are just so... irrelevant. 

Since childhood, I have been used to using things for long times. Clothes, equipments, shoes etc. I can't just throw things away cause they don't look as good anymore or they don't w…

Reading India through 'Dictator's handbook'

What's the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship?
The book says, not much. India, agrees. Current political dispensation especially agrees vigorously.

"Soma" of hindutva and past glory + divided impoverished amnesiac masses + legitimised attack on individual rights + tremendous wealth shared among few = brave new world of oligarchical India.


Essentially, democracies/ dictatorships etc., are simply variants of the same power dynamic between the ruler, essentials, influentials and inter-changeables.

Interchangeables are the nominal selectorate - the individual voters who have nominal (or cosmetic) power to choose leader - most of us.
Influentials  are the real selectorate - the guys who really choose the leader. In US recently, the electoral college famously went against the popular vote and elected a clown as their president instead. In India, theoretically, the system is a bit better in terms of a wider base of influentials - it could be religious gurus, party…

How many shots of the girl dancing or laughing aimlessly does it take to establish her as a Manic pixie dream girl?

Learning from bad writing: Meri Pyaru bindu These days I am writing my first story that I intend to complete and publish. So as you can imagine, I am in the writer mode most of the time - anxiously looking for writer's intent, choices, character arcs, alternate story lines etc, while watching any movie or reading any novel. With a well written story, these choices are not that apparent. You have to look hard and yet you might miss out on essential choices that the writer made, to make the film/ novel a great piece of art. It feels as if the story flowed out from the author's mind onto paper with zero loss in translation. For that reason, it is difficult to learn much from good writing. It inspires, yes of course. It helps you get in the mood or get into the right frame of mind. But it can't teach as well as a badly written movie/ novel can.
A badly written story makes you aware of your own fallibility. It grounds you. Most importantly, it helps you see the many ways in wh…