Neither Not at All Nor Completely

I often make fun of people who say things like “that is so true“… but I must admit: there appears to be nothing more true than the fact that throughout our entire existence we can experience nothing beyond some limits — the extremes of which are not included — namely: We must live our entire life spans in between “not at all” and “completely”. This is one thing my father has incessantly hammered home: There is no 100%. And likewise: There is no 0%. Of anything. Of any proposition. There are no absolutes. Somewhere in that list, I took over — because it is my father who still keeps searching for absolutes; I am the one who has given up on that idea.

Existence is a funny thing. We must always co-exist. If the other half doesn’t exist, then neither do we. We are always also everything that we are not.

I could keep going on entertaining you with philosophical aphorisms, but that is not what I wanted to write about. Firstly, I needed to say what I said first of all. Beyond that, I also want to talk about language again.

In a sense, language is that other thing. We use it. It’s a technology, just like phones or shoes or a hammer. We grab pieces of it, throw it around, bang it against walls, build other stuff with it… but it is no more a part of us than our own genes are. Oh, wait a minute… — It is a little bit a part of us, isn’t it? It is a little bit the air we breathe. Wait. What was that?

Wittgenstein was definitely onto something — well, not 100%, but pretty much. As I write these words, I give them meaning. As you read them, you also give them meaning (and I sure hope you give them more or less the same meaning as I do). We hammer away at expressions. We knock them around, sometimes we bend them out of shape, stretch them, give them new meanings. That’s life. 😀

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