When Words Just Don’t Seem To Cut It

Words, I have found, are just not enough. They seem wholly inadequate at relaying true meaning between us. Here’s why I believe it is so.

Image of scrabble painted on a wall for article titled “words just don’t cut it” by Larry G. Maguire

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Words, I have found, are just not enough. They seem wholly inadequate at relaying true meaning between us. Here’s why I believe it is so.

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One night a couple of years ago, I sat in the scratcher with my back against the tall headboard of our bed.

The missus and I were talking.

I don’t remember exactly what it was we were talking about, but suddenly a moment arose in the conversation when I realised that my response was pointless.

Pointless, not in the sense that I was trying to get through to her and couldn’t, as can be the case when I’m trying to breach the fortress of her defences on a contentious issue, but rather, any words I could muster were inadequate.

“Words are pointless”, I said. “I don’t know why we use words at all. I can see a time when we don’t use them any more”.

“What are you talking about?”, she said as she rolled over to sleep.

I feel like this often.

It’s very hard to explain, but I’ll try.

So, a topic comes up in conversation between me and someone else. There’s a disagreement and the other side feels the need to explain, to validate their view, to reinforce their opinion with an intent to change my mind.

I might feel the same.

Then all of a sudden there is a feeling that comes over me that conversation is pointless. I don’t mean pointless in a defeatest sense, as in; oh I just give up, there’s no sense trying to change your mind, kind of thing.

It’s more like there’s nothing to defend. There’s no further explanation necessary.

It doesn’t even need to be a disagreement.

The subject matter doesn’t need to be tentative.

Right then, there is the feeling that conversation is inadequate, futile and primitive.

Someday I think verbal language will be set aside.

“I always speak the truth. Not the whole truth, because there’s no way, to say it all. Saying it all is literally impossible: words fail. Yet it’s through this very impossibility that the truth holds onto the real”.

- Jacques Lacan | Psychotherapist

Making Sense of The Real

So what are words?


Sounds my body produces in order to connect with someone else.

How does it know what to say?

How do the cells in my body, in my throat and mouth know how to orchestrate a string of noises that only appear as noises when reflected on an eardrum?

When I’m in full flight I don’t even need to consciously think about what to say, I just say it.

I’m waiting to see what comes out.

It’s vibration.

When I speak, sing, shout, or scream, every cell in my body, every subcomponent of every cell feels that vibration.

My brain feels it too and knows exactly the correct response.

Drill down into the very structures of my organism and what appears to form me disappears. All that’s left is vibration.

So my existence and the very means of communication it uses to form itself against the world is fundamentally an exchange or vibration.

A relationship.

On and off.

Or rather a range or degree of change between black and white, up and down, in and out - a waveform.

Trouble is we can never get to the heart of the matter because there is none that we can find. the closer we get to explanation the further the thing disappears into the void.

The singularity seems to be there, it seems to be something yet when I look for it, it runs away. Like the muscae volitantes, or floaters on the surface of my eye as I stare at the sky on a clear day.

I can never get to the heart of myself, whatever it is that I am.

I’ll try.

I’ll spend my whole life trying.

My entire life I’ll chase relationships, jobs, money, status and so on, all in pursuit of myself but never find it.

In the course of that pursuit, I use words all the while trying to connect with myself through other people and things.

And although I use them, I seem to have come to the realisation that words just don’t seem to cut it.

I’ll never get there and I’ll never find myself.

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