“You and I exchange lines of dialogue.  Each line is a trap, a misuse, and each misuse is justified by some standard upon which we  have previously agreed, if tacitly.  Thereby appears the nature of meaning.  It is a force that hazards to subjugate other forces, other meanings, other languages.  We understand this all too well and yet, and yet – well, it is like the infirmity, the defect at the base of a dam.  It will hold and it will hold and then it will give up, the dam will give up.  As do we all…

“Believe what you like.  Or, better, believe what you believe; it’s always easier, if you ask me.  You would have me imagine that in some cases language really is just a simple transmission of rather functional, if not banal, messages between speakers.  Not only is that not true, but it is necessarily untrue, even in the most functional of exchanges, say between two firemen or a pilot and her navigator or a surgeon and his operating-room nurse and here between you and me as you attend to me, where I use she and where I use he and even why I might have put she before he, or did not phrase the question as he following she.”

-Percival Everett-

A Meaning List

  • Mikhail Bakhtin
  • Jay Lemke
  • Lev Vygotsky
  • Humberto Maturana / Francisco Varela
  • Bruno Latour
  • Paul J. Thibault
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Mark Bickhard
  • Charles S. Peirce
  • Roman Jakobson
  • V. N. Volosinov
  • Robert Musil
  • Kurt Ammon
  • Alan Turing
  • Jacob von Uexkull
  • Kurt Godel
  • et. al….

and not one without the other…

“The literary word resembles a person who roams at will” – Robert Musil

“The sentence not only derives its meaning from the words: the words derive their meaning from the sentence, and the relationship between page and sentence, whole work and page, is no different…the embracing and the embraced develop their meaning mutually out of each other, and the structure of a page of good prose is, analyzed logically, not something frozen but the vibrating of a bridge, which changes with every step one takes on it…”

“One can only explain that it is from all the details taken together, and through their mutual interpenetration, that the whole arises in a way that remains mysterious…a transformation of sense that eludes logic…but the meanings are related to each other, and when one grasps one meaning the others peep through beneath it…”

-Robert Musil – “Literati & Literature” –

“It is only meaningful to speak of originality where there is a tradition” – Robert Musil

“thus one could probably ‘dissect’ any writer whatever (formally, or according to subject matter, or even according to the intended meaning), and would find in him nothing but bits and pieces of his predecessors; by no means completely ‘taken apart’ and ‘newly assimilated,’ but preserved in broken shards”

“Thus in serious literature the peculiar situation emerges that the general ongoing tradition and the personal contribution of the individual cannot be separated from each other.  In this process the continuum does not grow in any dimension other than extent, nor does the personal element gain a solid position.  The whole consists of variations that randomly come to rest on each other.”

-Robert Musil, “Literati & Literature”-