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Words As Paint

Too often we forget that words are the metaphoric paint by which we depict the universe, ourselves and what is going on. But is it not instructive to come to appreciate the metaphor and to learn how to use words in better ways to paint realities more true to form and in the ways that things are.

Unfortunately, many of us employ “cheap,” hackneyed and grotesquely empty tools of our trade. Many of us become bogged down in stereotypes, unproductive phrases, “tired” express-isms and verbal renditions poorly thought out.

One of my pet peeves is the use of names for “colors” be it pink, yellow or whatever, with the speaker hardly realizing that many eyes can see literally thousands of each (namesake). We forget that the apparent color of anything we see is determined, in large part, by the kind(s) of light(s) bearing down (or up) onto the object; the angle of incidence, matters of reflectivity, texture, etc.

Many of us are entrenched and buried in vocabularies punctuated by polar opposites (good-bad; light-dark; strong-weak) and or with meaningless utterances such as “gone viral” (as with all the speed of a sponge) or the word "crazy” which is used with such banality as to have lost all meaning.

Few of us intuit that we have no way of proving whether any of us see the same thing when seemingly looking at the same vistas. (I grow weary of those silly narrators who describe painting by suggesting that no matter where an observer stands, that the character embedded in a scene, is looking right at each member of the audience and not realizing that it could not be any other way.)

When we think we see and pretend to see, how many of us begin to "garble” and recite stereotypes, categories and rubrics of what we see. If we see a landscape, we may remark at the hay loft, the barn, horses and pond, forgetting that there are mere “empty” words which contribute nothing but a menage of categories and stereotypes.