Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Language is a Virus

I've managed to work my way through the first five chapters of Gergen's An Invitation to Social Construction.

My sense of being off balance has grown with each page - so much so, in fact, that I found myself skipping forward in the book in an attempt to find something hopeful and solid that I could cling to. We are indeed on shaky ground as sentient and relational beings. With the answer to each question about the meaning of meaning, we seem to sink deeper and deeper into more meaningless questions. Perhaps sinking deeper is the wrong metaphor - it's more like a mirrored funhouse room where reflections build upon reflections and nothing seems real.

I've nearly finished the sixth chapter, Dialogic Potentials. Gergen starts to introduce some ideas for dialogue practices to help us get over this hump of duality or "alterity." I'm very curious to see where he goes from here.

It's distressing to me that this book and these ideas are so difficult for me to grasp. Gergen throws these concepts like jello at the wall of my brain, and they simply slide off without sinking in. If I really want to "get it," I'm going to have to go back and read this book again from the beginning - maybe several times over.

I wonder if I was always this dense and just didn't realize it, or if I've lost mental capacity over the years. It's probably better not to know the answer to that question - I'm not sure which answer would make me feel worse.


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