we humans are a complicated bunch. ostensibly, in our particular communities, we speak the same language, the same meanings attributed to certain sounds and groups of sounds. but enter emotions, enter pain, disappointment, hope, anger, and suddenly what is heard, what is understood, is nowhere close to what was meant.
when i ponder this, i wonder how it is we manage to communicate at all. with all the baggage that each of us carries, with all the accrued detritus of meaning, the subtlety of meaning, piled in huge drifts against our perception of the world, how is it that we manage to break through and have these gorgeous moments of communion? how is it that we can shift and dance and play with words, tossing them back and forth, lightly, with laughter, only to have them plummet at our feet days, hours later?
words, words, words, imbued with meanings only the speaker understands and even then, not fully, not always aware of all the weight they carry, informing them with shades and tonalities no dictionary can ever hope to define. words, words, words, the listener takes them in, through equally convoluted passages of all that came before, all that is hoped for, inferred, implied, looked for, feared, seen, unseen, heard, unheard.
gods above, how do we ever say anything to anyone? how are we ever understood? do we agree to accept the vaguest outlines of shared meaning, losing the essential infinitesimal bits and pieces that flesh out the truth that we perceive? can one ever be truly understood by another? are those rare moments of light and connection more than a little illusory? perhaps that is why mankind invented god, to have someone out there who really and truly, fully and completely understands the finest strands of our every thought.
being both godless and a chronic optimist, i choose to believe that it is possible to break through the confusion sometimes. that is what makes the difference between the people in your tribe, your circle, and those outside - those momentary, fleeting, precious moments of understanding. and no, i don't think it is possible to understand another completely - how can it be when it is not even possible to understand oneself completely? but it is possible to get glimpses, and they make it all worthwhile.