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Say what you like, or better write it

Updated on October 19, 2007

To write or...

Ludwig Wittgenstein, the philosopher, said:

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen. (Wittgenstein 1918: 85, § 7)

Translated: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent.

If all publishing were to come to a standstill, would we still have enough to read on every subject of interest?

Does every new piece of writing (including this one) have something new in it or about it?

Can it be said that most writers write more out of a desire to be read than out of a desire to write?

In his book ‘What is Literature?' Jean-Paul Sartre, while discussing why we write, wrote:

Each has his reasons: for one, art is a flight; for another a means of conquering. But one can flee into a hermitage, into madness, into death. One can conquer by arms. Why does it have to be writing, why does one have to manage one's escapes and conquests by writing?

If I fix on canvas or in writing a certain aspect of the fields or the sea or a look on someone's face which I have disclosed, I am conscious of having produced them by condensing relationships, by introducing order where there was none, by imposing the unity of mind on the diversity of things.

As perhaps a corollary of the above, can it be maintained that every new piece of writing, besides being spatially and temporally new, is also intrinsically new?

If the answer is YES, then all of us can go on writing blithely on anything that interests us or is provocative in some way.

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    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 9 years ago from Chennai

      Some write because they are enthused - in the original meaning of the word. Inspired or possessed they write, just as they breathe, eat or drink, some even forsaking eating or drinking for the length of time needed to pursue their muse. I write for pleasure and to give pleasure, or in a humble measure, some upliftment.

      Good show, all this writing! And may this writing community flourish!