Saturday, 21 July 2012


Say I have some thoughts about X subject that I want to write down. I’m not entirely sure what these thoughts are, although a few are clear. In the process of writing I realise and clarify what it is I want to say. This seems fairly commonplace but what, more exactly, is going on here? 

Note that ‘what I wanted to say’ is a bit of a misnomer in so far as I could not have articulated this ‘what’ – not articulated it cleanly and completely – prior to writing. Through writing I discovered not just the words but my thoughts. I gave them form, yes, but the forms of writing also disclosed their content.

 On the other hand, ‘what I wanted to say’ really did pre-exist this materialisation, in that when written down I recognised that it was in indeed this that had been in my head.  ‘What I wanted to say’ therefore existed at some level, a level we can legitimately call ‘unconscious’. It must therefore make sense to say that we have formless, virtual thoughts that do not ‘know themselves,’ and await the materialisation of writing, or even just an interval of reflection – to attain daylight.

It is only when you start dealing with a signifying system, a shared language, its lexicon and syntax, that thoughts and feelings achieve actual content.Language is something impersonal, extrinsic, that we nonetheless require to drag the intimate (the formless thoughts) into daylight. 

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