Further to my musings the other day, I’ve been thinking about my own use of language. Having looked into Wittgenstein a little recently, I realise that this can run quite deep, but it’s interesting regardless: W.’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophica ends with a sweeping statement: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”
It’s an interesting comparison to my thoughts on Bukowski – not a word wasted there, and I’m sure Wittgenstein would have approved. Ludwig’s point of view was (if we are to take that statement as summarising his thoughts, which wouldn’t be really correct, but it’s a useful indicator) basically, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, shut up. Bukowski would probably have agreed, evenutally: all I’ve read so far – admittedly not a lot – is so elemental with a rare knack of expressing what most people simply wouldn’t or couldn’t. Wittgenstein was famous for shouting down those who spoke unnecessarily, and Bukowski’s efforts in minimalisation seem to represent that very well.
Ham on Rye shows, in glimpses, that Bukowski was an exceptionally intelligent and literate man, yet his story is riddled with the horrific flaws of humanity, and I guess it’s this inherent contradiction that both men recognised. Wittgenstein’s solution was to analyse the problem and get to the root of the misconceptions concerning most people’s use of language, the weaknesses and the problems within. Bukowski’s approach was different, instead filtering out the irrelevant to create in his own art a more direct approach, free from chaff.
It’s an example I could learn a lot from, I think. The problem with blogging is that there’s no impetus to hone anything down: there’s no word limits, and the ‘Publish’ button is well within my periphery vision while I’m typing. Just one click and I’m done – it hardly seems worth analysing or honing the text. I really should scrutinise my output a bit more, try and make it “sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of me.”
I can do that!