Silence and Words

Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful. So all things limp together for the only possible. In the immense confusion one thing alone is clear. I forgive nobody. Nothing to do but stretch out comfortably on the rack, in the blissful knowledge you are nobody for eternity. All I say cancels out, I’ll have said nothing. Words are all we have. Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness. To restore silence is the role.

SAMUEL BECKETT

And when words are pinned down they fold their wings and die. Finally, and most emphatically, words, like ourselves, in order to live at their ease, need privacy. Undoubtedly they like us to think, and they like us to feel, before we use them; but they also like us to pause; to become unconscious. Our unconsciousness is their privacy; our darkness is their light. . . . That pause was made, that veil of darkness was dropped, to tempt words to come together in one of those swift marriages which are perfect images and create everlasting beauty. But no — nothing of that sort is going to happen to-night. The little wretches are out of temper; disobliging; disobedient; dumb. What is it that they are muttering? “Time’s up! Silence!”

                                                     The Collected Essays of Virginia Woolf

This entry was posted in Being Human, delusions of progress, Other peoples words, paying attention, philosophy, scenes on screens, thinking in words and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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