If I could write this article without words I would, because, by employing more of the squiggly little things, I am being complicit in “The Great Wordflation,” that great clogging of the mental arteries, or that stimulus to ignorance that you encounter when you see another yet another 10000-word plus essay on the internet, written by someone with a pen name detailing their personal path to enlightenment.
Matching the great inflation of the money/credit/debt supply and the great outpouring of cheap mass produced consumerism that has characterized our era, we have also seen The Great Wordflation. It seems only fair to assume that they are somehow all marching in lock step towards some mutually agreed cataclysmic point.
Historically there have always been too many words in the world for the amount of sense available, but things were never as bad as they are now. This has had stylistic repercussions, but, much more importantly, it has had an entirely corrosive effect on the human ability to understand the world in a meaningful way.
For centuries words were just air – breathe in breathe out – and carried off on the wind unless you were a Druidic rap artist, but now without such bardic skills they pour forth on Kindles, comment threads, blogs, Facebooks, smart phones (sic), and Twitters. And they even hang around! What’s more, they link to more and more words, and then there are things like Wikipedia and Google so that any fuckwit can find even more words to back-up and consolidate any half-baked notions that have got stuck on his or her sticky little ego.
Then there is the spin that can be put on words. No, I didn’t realize you were being quite so ironic…(yawn!)
This means that no one need ever be wrong again – and that being right is also impossible and increasingly subjective. You can have pure, fragrant crap for brains, in which the most outlandish notions have rooted, stemmed, flourished, and bloomed, and you need never worry because the vast Wordflation has already grown a million fig leaves to cover your ignorance and block out the Sun.
You want to believe that the British Royal Family are alien lizards? Fine! No problem! The Great Wordflation has created a jungle of websites, podcasts, and blogs that water that giant triffid growing out of your head.
You want to believe that we are walking hand-in-hand with our Black and Brown brothers and sisters into a post-racial utopia, while meantime you do all you can to avoid them? Fine. Problemo Nil! The Great Wordflation will bury and caress you with words that will feed your delusion, especially this delusion.
You got a thing about the Jews pissing in every sandwich? What could be more rational and sane when there are apparently vast canopies and cathedrals of words built up on that very same premise? The shadows of such cathedrals also allow a lot of real pissing in sandwiches to go on undetected.
The ancient Greeks, as ever, were here before us. That was why they tried to incorporate infallible mathematics into philosophy and create watertight reasoning patterns which came to be called “logic.” But the big flaw was they still needed words, and words turn.
The Romans, competent rulers that they were, made words relatively scarce while roads, baths, and aqueducts proliferated. The Catholics who followed them used impenetrable Latin and the occasional bonfire to keep the word count low, but then some mischievous German invented the modern printing press, and, with one thing leading to another, mass literacy started to loom. But still words were limited by the cost of books, the turgidness of the still medieval writing style, and the physical effort of blowing dust off tomes and looking up references. Only the more intelligent, studious, and socially parsitical could dabble in this growing evil, and thus it was contained for many years by a thin although often permeable layer from the moronic masses.
But now, thanks to the great technical ‘wordsplosion’ of the last few years – the vast churning out of ever more interlinked articles, cross-referencing blogs, and endless comment threads in which every moron can see magical words appearing on the screen at the ends of his clattering digits – we are now drowning in words, words that cosset lies and anti-truths, words that clog the mind, that needlessly charm or pointlessly enrage, words that stupefy and bore within one or two clicks of vast amounts of porn.
The Zen masters of the East saw this coming (except the porn). That’s why they said fuck the sutras and made their points by sitting under waterfalls and thwacking each other with bits of bamboo, and, erm, chilling out. But our own world is now covered in a fine and ever growing carpet of word-dust, a bit like Pompeii after the volcano.