Logophilia

Many things. that were magical and interesting to me as a child, now seem rather dull and merely two-dimensional. The magic box, which can make coins dissapear, turns out to be just a cardboard and glass trinket when the mirrors are exposed. It was full of surpise when I saw it as a child, but now it is common and predictable.

Over the last few days I’ve been considering one area that seems ever deeper, more mysterious, and more beautiful with each passing year.

Language.

I listened, some months ago, to a reading of Martin Luther King Jr.’s open letter from Birmingham Jail. King was a master of his words, and even with other voices reading his letter, you still hear his voice, and it is so intimate that I can begin to feel he was actually talking to me.

There is a deeper story told, a theme, one that weaves its way through every paragraph and each adjective of a well designed writing. Even a scientific journal article can be a work of art when it is elegant and uncompromising. A well written ballad, like came from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in 1964 in As Tears Go By, with it’s three short verses, tells a very long story indeed about the fleeting nature of our lives and the human experience.

Having the ability to speak, having the wonderful gift of literacy, and the incredible opportunity afforded me, in this very laptop and blog, to share my thoughts with the world is the real Promethean gift. James warned us in his timeless letter that “the tongue is a fire….”

So let us each carry this flame wisely. Neither consumed by it, nor burying it, but rather using it for the edification of many.

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