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  • Writer's picturedavidauten

Jabberwocky



“Those who try to make sense of the world are to be divided into four categories: scientists, theologians, philosophers, and fools. Correction… make that one category, with three sub-divisions.”

Assorted Letters, Carlo Kensada, 1892


Saying it is a fool’s errand to try to make sense of the world is not the same as saying there is no sense to the world. The latter is just another attempt to make sense of the world, by saying there is no sense. But trying to make sense of the world does seem to be a fool’s errand, for what progress has humanity made, over how many thousands of years, with no definitive answer to offer, and how many more years shall pass, with just as much effort, and so many more speculations still to come? Thus, giving up on the search for sense, may actually make a great deal of sense, in the sense that such surrender opens the door to freedom: freedom from endless discernment, debates, and deliberations over systems of belief which may or may not be true and, instead, freedom for being, loving, laughing, crying, and even forgetting the misplaced desire to make sense of it all in the first place. Freed from the artifice of meaning, there is awe and wonder, there is terror and jubilee!


Is it not common sense to say I do not know what the world is all about? I appear here, through no choice of my own, a decision made for me by my mother and father. I look around at the world, and before I ascribe to any belief system or bias, any particular cosmology or credo, I am first convicted I am baffled, as to the who, what, where, when, why, and how of anything beyond the simple fact that I am, or at least think I am, that all of this before me is somehow here, or at least seems to be here. Such honesty does not make for a heretic or a prophet, an idiot or a sage, only a true confession, that our framings of reality are just that, framings, some useful and some less so, but constructions nonetheless we lay across our rudimentary perception of the world as undeniably and inscrutably there.


Our attempt to make sense of the world is very much rooted in language, a bedrock of meaning. Language has meaning because of social agreements on the indication of certain symbols, an interpersonal pact that these words, sounds, and shapes will indicate this, while those words, sounds, and shapes will indicate that, and so on and so forth. But the fact that two or more people agree about the prescribed meaning of certain physical, written, and oral ciphers does not magically imbue them with inherent meaning. Outside of our social agreement on the indication of symbols, there is no meaning. Or, if there is, we have no way of knowing it, and that is quite okay. All language at base is a jabberwocky, and life is more fun that way. The Jabberwock is not a monster to beware as Lewis Carroll imagined. Rather, it is your very own life, set free.


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