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The importance of what we don’t (and can’t) say

I loved this section from Žižek’s Hegel In A Wired Brain pg 43 about the importance of what we don’t (and can’t) say. It can certainly be a negative experience, a claustrophobic imminence in which we struggle to express something which we need to externalise into the world But the reality of the unarticulated/inarticulable is attested to by the intensity of that need and recognising this failure can be significant for others:

Recall what one might be tempted to call the “Hugh-Grant-paradox” (referring to the famous scene from Four Weddings and a Funeral): the hero tries to articulate his love to the beloved, he gets caught in stumbling and confused repetitions, and it is this very failure to deliver his message of love in a perfect way that bears witness to its authenticity

I’ve thought of this as the discursive gap: the chasm between what we’re trying to say and the resources available to us to say it. The reality of our present situation exists just as much in our failed attempts at articulacy as it is in what we have successfully articulated. In fact this failings can be one of the motors which move us through the world, as we struggle to make sense of these failings and the significance they hold for ourselves and others.

Categories: Things to think about

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