Saturday, May 28, 2011


What Iris Murdoch once said, or rather what Kate Winslet as Iris Murdoch said in the movie Iris gets one thinking about the exact significance of language.

It may be the one of the best reasons human beings have been as successful as they are as a species so far, but one wonders if its cardinal purpose of communication is served exactly.

Often, people dont say what they really want to say either becoz they think it's not the right thing to say or becoz they dont think they are equipped with the necessary vocabulary to express in words exactly what thoughts form near wordlessly in their minds.

Sometimes people talk in abstractions becoz details cannot, must not be given away. Other times people talk to distract from the truth, or to dilute it, or to embellish it.

To capture a feeling in a few words or a thousand is challenging even for those who love words and self-expression as much as Iris does, or as much as I think I do.

And since words are never enuff, language becomes something lesser then originally intended. Especially becoz people dont use it only for conveying meanings and points. It is a medium of communication, yes, but more often it ends up being about avoidance, misdirection, self-protection and mostly plain confusion.

And the truth probably is that people often talk simply becoz they have nothing to say.

But then, as Iris points out, what else do we have? Unless evolution turns us all into telepaths, and that wud be way more curse than blessing.

"There's something fishy about describing people's feelings. You try hard to be accurate, but as soon as you start to define such and such a feeling, language lets you down. When we really speak the truth, words are insufficient. But they're important to us, nonetheless, because they are what connects us to thoughts other than those belonging to us."- Iris Murdoch


Ramya said...

wow, this post puts into words so much that words usually cannot. loved the quote - so true.

--Sunrise-- said...

Found your blog through Aayushi's... a medical student here, I love the range of thoughts you have on this blog!! Very interesting reads :)

I can completely relate to the Calvin and Hobbes new year's resolution cartoon too ;)

Sakshi said...

That is why they say, silence often says things that words cannot!

mgeek said...

thankfully, there are eyes...