Al & Jason on the radicalism of meaning co-creation
AL: Meaning making takes a little bit of a turn here in week nine, because the meaning gets created unintentionally. So, what’s the future of meaning? And, where does meaning go from here? And, is meaning all that it is cracked up to be? And, so on…. We talk about co-creation of meaning , which is a different kind of meaning than you were taught when you were a kid, which was ‘say what you mean’, ‘do you want a drink of water or, do you want a ball to play with?’ ‘use your words.’ And co-creation is obviously different from that. Jason, take it anywhere:
JASON Z: Meaning and language are such complex living things. They grow and live … you don’t just have a language implanted in your brain. You learn language through exchange with others. And language is also a barrier, because how do you find the perfect words to express what’s in your mind? So, language is always adapting itself to different minds and different experiences and growing in that way. And I think.. one thing I think about ModPo is .. and that I have been thinking about just what poetry is.. is a kind of communal yoga of the mind. A practice, an ongoing practice that everyone can practice. Like your pose doesn’t need to be perfect. But you discover new flexibilities in your body, and you gain health and other ways of thinking about- in yoga- the movement of the body; and, through poetry you gain flexibility in language. So in listening to political language, familiarity with poetry allows you to pick up on a lot of the nonsense and tricks and bad things, manipulations of language. So to read poems communally is to strengthen our flexibility with our relations with one another which are primarily conducted through language. It expands the possibilities of how we can communicate with each other when political forces that be want to shut down the language, limit the words, or describe something terrible with a phrase that sounds less so. I was really struck by – in Bernadette Mayer’s list of exercises – one of them is: consult the thesaurus where categories for the word ‘word’ include word as news, word as message, word as information, word as story, word as order or command, word as vocable, word as instruction, promise, vow, contract….
AL: Jason, thank you. I hope someone is going to transcribe that, because it was f*ing amazing!