Do you ever look back at something you’ve written and wonder, “What did I mean by that?”
Perhaps a diary entry from 10 years ago, or maybe an email you composed 10 minutes ago.
Sometimes I am left bewildered as to who wrote the words, but circumstances leave little room for doubt.
Analyzing a piece concerning tooth extraction written close to 100 years ago led to lively debate with my closest friend the other day.
Each of us was convinced our interpretation of the text was correct. But ultimately we had no way to confirm the “correct” answer.
Swallowing this is tough for me. I like to be “right.”
Recently a friend posted a quote, “It is more important to be kind than to be right.” Something for me to chew on before I can digest it fully.
Working in language makes me even more keenly sensitive to the issue of accuracy of meaning.
Yet what hope have I if I can’t even conclusively interpret seemingly straightforward prose in my mother tongue?
At the end of the day, proving one way or the other may be “like pulling teeth.”
Certainly, language is not precise like Mathematics and open to so much interpretation. Maybe that’s why I love it so much.
Perhaps it’s more important to acknowledge the subjective nature of language. Embrace it!
As it were, my Mother had a tooth removed that very day.
I hope she feels much better now.