Nouns. People, places, things. This is the crux of the English language; what our ideas revolve around. What we use to define ourselves, our surroundings and others. And it is drowning us.
Lets take first for example things. I refer to an old baseball mitt on my shelf as precisely that: a mitt. Some variations include but are not limited to: old mitt, glove, the ol’ Wilson A2000, or ‘Essence of my Childhood’. All of these names (save perhaps ‘Essence…’) do a fine job referring to the object on my shelf
Good. Great. Mission accomplished. I say mitt, you think mitt. Idea transmitted. Lets move forward.
But what is lost? What qualities of that mitt slowly leak through the cracks of memory, conversation and thought throughout the years?
Bare with me.
Consider your childhood house. We refer to this generally as “my old house” or something of that nature. But that house is so much more than simply the walls and rooms within. For years it held within it the aspects of your dreams, fights, crushes and inside jokes. All of the living memories constantly flowing in and out of it’s doors give it life, a certain feel. A residual one at that, demonstrated by that feeling we all get when visiting any old place we left. Some call it nostalgia, but regardless of what you call it, it is impossible to ignore the dynamic imprint we have on the things we touch. Things which house and capture the incarnations of our intentions and ideas.
A mitt. A house. These things may not be as stagnant as the nouns we use to communicate them infer…perhaps they are directions. Perhaps the physical can absorb a little of the impact our experiences have on them. And maybe it would do well for us think of that more often.
Because our experiences are important, and paying attention to the roles objects and our surroundings play in our story could cue us in to the fact that we are not stagnant either.
A quick personal disclaimer: I know this sounds obvious. Of course humans are not stagnant. We are living, breathing, moving things! We explore, we are curious, and we are always moving on with or towards something.
But simplicity can be a disguise. And the nature of our language does not help.
The thing is, people are always living, even when you are not around them. Their lives do not just go on hold; their spiritual and emotonial composition freezing until you seeing them again magically kicks them into gear. If the things people act in and utilize become conduits for the intentions behind their lives, what then of the people themselves!
Just as you learn and grow, so does everyone else. Just as you get shaken to the core and have your world turned upside down, so does everyone else. All the time.
So when you think of your friends, don’t think of their names, but of what their names carry. Think of the body of work they have shown you, and more importantly, the body of work you have never seen. Proper nouns have no business encompassing our thoughts of people, but rather should serve as conduits to the direction that person’s life is pointing.
We should stop living life as static blocks slowly moving between other static units of creation. Every thing and every person is constantly in shift.
Here is to finding the right direction, and to helping each other along the way.