Sticking the world together with words

From The Guardian:

Antony-Sher-as-Prospero-i-002 We're so used to hearing writers worship words: “Oh, I've always been passionate about language, every sentence is crafted with loving care.” So used to hearing of the positive power of literature: “If only she'd read some serious fiction, the break-up wouldn't have come as such a trauma!” Even of its supposed political importance: if only Israelis and Palestinians would read each others' novels, says Amos Oz, they would begin to come to some accommodation. If only Americans translated more foreign literature, says translator Edith Grossman, US foreign policy would be more understanding. The mafia can be beaten, says Roberto Saviano, with words! And then, the Bible's weird announcement: “In the beginning was the Word”. As if everything outside language were secondary and irrelevant.

But what if language and literature were as much a part of the problem as the solution?


Invented, not part of nature, words are thrust upon us the moment we emerge from the womb. Heads stuffed with them, we start to imitate. The right sounds in the right sequences get us what we want. Soon these patterns of sound seem as natural as breathing. For stream of consciousness, read stream of words.

More here.