On Language and Beauty
The creation of language was the first singularity for humans. It changed everything. Life after language was unimaginable to those on the far side before it. (Kevin Kelly)
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“Language is one of the most powerful and beautiful technologies we possess. Language is our interface with reality and with one another. Language is a reality-shaping tool; it shapes both our inner and outer reality. Language unlocks a universe of possibility.
Language is a miracle. And, as with most miracles, we take it for granted.”
“Reminds me of a quote by G. K. Chesterton:
The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.
“We usually think of wonder in relation to the vast and the grand. Those are the obvious wonders. But most wonders are hiding in plain sight, patiently waiting for us to grow wiser.
Language is a beautiful game with three components:
We can think of the first one as the substance, and of the last two as the form.
Meaning is the heart of the game, and a universe in itself. Meaning is the fundamental playground of the Thinker.”
“Does this mean meaning is the most important?”
“There’s a beauty of meaning, a beauty of style, and a beauty of structure.
Structure is the rules of the game: syntax, grammar, and punctuation. Language is a modular game – a bit like Lego. Its elements can be combined in some ways but not others. Knowing the rules gives insight into the inner workings of the game, which can make you a better player.
Style is the beautiful expression of meaning, governed by its own set of rules: simplicity, clarity, brevity, expressiveness, resonance, rhythm, and maybe others I have yet to discover. Knowing these rules can also make you a better player.
A beautiful idea is beautiful regardless of style or structure. Structure and style make the idea communicable and impactful. How you express an idea matters. A beautiful idea expressed beautifully is more likely to have an impact on the world.
Ultimately, the game of language is a multiplayer game.”