Friday, April 30, 2010

Blah Blah Blah

"When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom" - Confucius

Meaning is the extent to which words are embodied.

So what of a blog on social justice? Words are cheap in cyberspace: they are disembodied ideals that float through pixels on anonymous screens without real authors or readers.

And in reading about social ideas and needs, in writing articles that discuss and evaluate, we are given the illusion that we are doing good. But my neighbour is still a bitter cat lady, I still seek value and identity in buying CDs and books, and thousands of kids are still going to die today of starvation.

"A protest is no longer an act of defiance but a confirmation that one’s democracy is functional. Everyone’s political appetite is satisfied – hawks fight a futile war overseas while liberals fight a futile war against that war from the comfort of their laptops."

We protest against social injustice 'here', along with countless others who are a mere click away (to the column on your right for instance). Is this just a cultural placebo to keep us quiet, for both myself as author and you as reader?

At the end of the day, you probably don't know me, and I probably don't know who you are, or if you read this. There is no accountability to real meaning in action.

Maybe we need to pursue more face to face conversation, where our words will be made meaningful through real relational encounters. Where we won't be 'free' to write esoteric and romantic rants that we don't believe in (and therefore don't act upon) because we will be challenged by those we share our lives with, who know us.

So who knows you, and who will recognise the meaning in your words?


  1. This kind of speech-act theorising seems to me to succumb to a kind of relativism though, where the word only has meaning when I attach it to something concrete and so create my own meaning. Whereas words do carry a disembodied meaning, otherwise they mean nothing and any text can mean anything. So, ultimately it leads to a poor hermeneutic. We can talk about action, but if we have no idea why we act, but we just do it because thats the only reason we will have meaning, then why act? The only words that then have meaning are the absolute words which state that there is no disembodied meaning.

  2. However you see it, the action and the theory must go together to create something stronger than either one individually. At the end of the day I reckon we should challenge ourselves to connect the two. Might mean taking help from a 'thinker' if you are a 'doer' and vice-versa.