Jan 21, 2019
A book, a novel, what is it really? When stripped to the core, it’s just a bunch of squiggles written across otherwise empty pages. Those squiggles are interpreted by the reader to represent things, and in his mind he creates the appropriate image or idea. That is the power of the word, to conjure up unseen things upon a whim, as if by magic. As long as the words are understood, the images can be created.
All sorts of things can be created in imagination by use of words. Characters are developed, each with their unique appearance and personality. They have relationships, joys and sorrows, adventures and conquests. But in a book, when a character speaks, is it they who are really speaking? Did they have an option in the matter to speak or not? Or a choice in what they would say or how they would react? Is there even a person there?
Even though you might get lost in the book, and envisioning yourself as the main character, what happens when the book is put down? Do you fear putting it down out of fear you’ll disappear? Of course not, though the character and his world will vanish because they were only imagined. But who is reading the book and imagining all of this in the first place?
Words in thought are no different than these squiggles on a blank page. Within thought, these sounds are given meaning and all sorts of unique characters and worlds are developed, including the main character named ‘I’. But it’s all just a story that’s being read. There is no character there speaking, just as there is no character actually speaking his dialogue within a book. Who or what is reading the words of thought, interpreting them and giving them reality? Without such a story, what would be?