Entropic Ecclesiastical Linguistics

A key to understanding metaphysics, i.e. the grammatical structures with which we order the cosmos, is that it is fundamentally negative. Every concept, whether it be the tree under which I am sitting, each word I am writing, and even the life I am living are meaningful only by a recognition of their limits. Geometric shapes are defined spatially, and given form, by the boundaries beyond which lies all the rest of reality not contained within those shapes. A person’s life is defined temporally by the limits of birth and death, beyond which only a Nachleben, an afterlife, could transport the person who lived that life into a pure transcendence in the memory of others.

Thus the key to meaning is negation, to pare away all the colorful foliage of subtlety, mystery, and ambiguity to uncover a pure essence. An analysis à la David Hume would completely annihilate every object and concept by a complete unpacking of the properties that make it up. This was the logical conclusion, or rather the logical suicide, of Western metaphysics. It demonstrated that there is no final answer once you satisfy all the questions of which that final answer is composed.

Yet this philosophical dead end could not destroy language, but the negation that it lighted upon became the value that would drive subsequent history forward into a nihilistic void. It was inevitable, and what is more, it started long before. It started with the birth of philosophy, which like an oil refinery that produces more efficient fuels, refines the mythic and poetic constructions of Truth into a streamlined and uniform discourse.

Yet efficiency in all things, whether a physical or metaphysical process, is the value of negation, an argument that disguises what it truly is: entropy.  Efficiency is entropy, a thermodynamic decay that transmutes the race of gold into silver, then into bronze, and then iron through the alchemy of Father Time. It exhausts the spirit by erecting an ever more byzantine edifice of answers that land increasingly short of the mark.

Entropy is a linguistic phenomenon as much as any other. The trend that languages simplify over time is the process by which a linguistic system fools itself into thinking it understands reality by expressing it in more absolute, dogmatic terms. Every language is a church with an unwritten creed, a ritual protocol of syntax, and a revelatory text, a bible we anglophones call a dictionary. The simpler a language is, the more dogmatic it is. English grammar is a cult of Gnostic dualism between the active and passive voice. Ancient Greek, an older and thus more complex language, is a trinitarian theology in which a third voice, the middle voice, is the spirit that resolves the dualism between active Subject and passive Object into a divine Unity. English is a syntactical orthodoxy of subject-verb-object. Greek is a pagan pluralism in which a colorful spectrum of mystery cults travel by myriad paths toward a single goal.

But even the orthodoxy of English is giving way to a puritanical tyranny that reduces complexity to a mathematical, robotic poverty of spiritual sensation. These are the computer languages.

To translate experience into language is to create a symbolic abstraction. It is a mystification of Truth by masking it behind an elaborate wall of icons. That is our mode of worship whenever we write, speak, read or listen to words. It is the helicopter or auto-road that uses soulless machines (with bumper stickers that say “This Car Climbed Mt. Washington”) to get us to the top of the mountain, depriving us of the journey, of the odyssey that makes the return to Ithaca not just meaningful, but merited.

Yet Truth is not an answer, nor even an end. It is an experience, a process, a way. Justice, wisdom, courage and temperance are virtues not to obtain, but to practice. The laws and written constitutions of states are ossifications of experience into the pipes of a grand façade that masks the inner workings of the pneumatic instrument within. Words and laws are the counterfeit currency of Truth and Justice, assigning arbitrary values based on pure faith. It is a capitalism whose logical conclusion is the pure efficiency that renders life itself obsolete. When Thoth-Hermes gave the written word to humankind, his war on Dionysus commenced. Yet we may rest assured that the Theban god in the end will always prevail.

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