My friend and neighbor, who has two grandchildren under the age of 2, was showing me a vintage toy that was purchased for the kids; a red and blue ball with shaped holes in it, with the yellow-block shapes inside the ball. You pull open the ball, the yellow-shape blocks spill out and you can put the blocks back inside the ball by matching the block shape and the hole shape.
At the time I was working on an illustration and was stumped for the “language” that the space alien creature would be speaking. The “language” in my artwork would need to somehow imply the ways the content of a book can “fit” with or resonate with a reader.
My conversation with my neighbor helped – creative problem solved!!
I’ve been thinking lately about the various ways that language is used and how that usage relates to being human.
For example: it helps human relationships if people are sincere, honest and as clear in their verbal communications as possible. Deliberate efforts to use language so as to mislead others to one’s own advantage is the opposite of helpful human relating.
Being a language-using human means to try to make mental connections between ideas/concepts and that includes trying to connect with other humans. Human existence and experience are about making connections and evaluating the qualities of those on-going connections, selecting the helpful and meaningful ones, expanding the number of “good relationships”. We create the world together.
Bullshitting is an effort to avoid making meaningful connections. To bullshit is to manipulate language so as to avoid relating directly with people in fact-based, rational, practical ways.
To share a drink (whether alcoholic beverages or not), to share food and to share books is an expression of a strong desire to meaningfully connect with someone. Sharing drinks, food, books, sports and many other collaborative/cooperative activities are ways we develop relationships and nurture on-going connections.
I’ve recently re-read “Bullshit” by Harry G. Frankfurt, mused on it’s contents so much (see the above verbiage) that I’ve included the book in a painting. And yes I really did use lots of sticky-notes in my copy of Frankfurt’s book, my effort to make connections between the concepts I found there.
Now that we’ve discussed “Bullshit” – what beverages do you like to drink?
“Need More Bourbon” by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches – acrylic and gouache on board.