There is a lot of signage these days endorsing RESISTANCE/RESIST.
I agree with the sentiment, and the reason for its arrival. It may have started at the time of “Black Lives Matter” and then picked up steam soon after the Trump election and has garnered even greater strength in the months since the #MeToo movement. RESISTANCE/RESIST. I agree. I think.
But, at some intuitive level, something in me wants to “resist” RESISTANCE. It has to do with the “action’” of the word itself. Language is more than the agreement of selected symbols (words) that combine in order to provide a means of communication. Words themselves have power. Words represent…they are conduits of meaning.
But words also mean, i.e., they “have” meaning by their very nature and form. “Murmur” isn’t simply a verb describing a mumbled or half-suppressed sound. Murmur is the half-suppressed sound itself. To be clear: I am not only referring to words we call onomatopoeia, i.e., words associated with the sound they make. I am stating that many words have an action (posture, intent, identity) consistent with that which they “point to” as communication.
As for RESISTANCE, my heart agrees with the intention. That is, I side with any action to resist (for example) Trump, or the denigration of women. Yet, the very act of resisting also means I am engaging in an “against” action. I am using an “against ” energy. And that becomes a quandary for me.
“Do you want peace?” is one of my mottos (my email is the Spanish form: quierespaz). I chose the line because it is a statement that I want in my daily parlance, not only from me to others, but, more importantly, from me to me! Yes, I want peace! (Training in depth psychology isn’t required in order to wonder whether a person so focused on a question about wanting peace may well indicate that said person has struggled long and hard at achieving peace… I have!).
Still, the predicament remains. How does one engage language when the words used create such a loved contradiction? How does one avoid the trap of dualism in such situations? Can it be done? Or, is this one of word’s ‘limits’ that leave us stuck at the border of language? Is this a point where words fail?
If so, is there a way, beyond language, that allows full agreement, both in form and function and meaning? If so, is that “way” a realm without words? Silence, perhaps? Or, is it possible to find agreement without abandoning language? Is it possible that paradox can provide what we seek?
I shall visit this place called paradox. There, I will join with others We shall stand tall, with up-stretched arms proudly holding our boldly lettered signs: RESIST! Only there will the question be answered. Am I at peace?