The limits of my language

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

~ Wittgenstein

I read this quote today and it struck a chord. That moment where you are scrambling for pen and paper. Not just any paper though. My journal. So I won’t lose it.

Do you feel limited or liberated by language? I feel both. Liberated when my vocabulary expands, when I learn new words and new ways to express myself. Limited when I struggle to find the right word, when I stumble over speaking aloud. My world contracts and expands with language.

I found the quote when I was reading this article about AI. Far from losing you in scientific jargon about computing science, it is a very human article about death, grieving and modern technology.

Your text messages can be used to make an AI bot that will mimic your speech patterns after death. Your friends and family can continue to speak with ‘you’ once you are gone. Obviously this has deep emotional ramifications that we are only just beginning to explore.

The days of losing the people I love, those closest to me, are mostly ahead. To think that I could continue to type to them as I type now. Questions, life updates, ranging from the banal to the sublime, the passing to the deep and meaningful. To think that an AI could be programmed to respond as they would respond – or close to.

What impact would that have on closure? On moving on? On letting go.

It is one of life’s strange coincidences that tonight I watched the film Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed’s novel. It is the best I have ever seen Reese Witherspoon. I loved it. It made me yearn to hike again. It has been a long time.

Do quotes ever strike you at precisely the right moment? What quote was it and why?




1 thought on “The limits of my language”

  1. I’m not sure that I would handle that very well. How could I move on if I could ‘talk’ to them. Although I see the allure. I read this quote by Shannon Hale:

    “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”

    This helped me immensely when I was about to give up because the writing, not the story, was horrible.


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