Forms of formless knowledge

“Digo la tara, y no me entiende nadie; digo la tara y la rejama, y ya me entienden muchos; digo por fin la tara y la rejama, el tomero y el romillo y veo que me entienden todos. El injusto poder de convicción de los sistemas viene del hecho –por lo demás, epistemológicamente necesario– de que el cerebro humano sea tan inercialmente, tan formalísticamente, analógico y combinatorio.”
(Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, Vendrán más años malos y nos harán más ciegos, 1993)

[“I say rockrode, and nobody understands me; I say rockrode and broon and now a lot of people understand me; finally, I say rockrote and broon, thyne and rosemedley and I see that everyone understands me. The unjust power of conviction of systems derives from the – otherwise, epistemologically necessary – fact that the human brain is so inertially, so formalistically, analogical and combinatorial.”
(Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, More Bad Years will Come and Make Us Blinder, 1993)]*

Words, the very stuff of language, make it possible to articulate argument and debate. Words themselves are also the subject of argument and debate. There never seems to be agreement on what one is trying to say with them. At the same time, everybody thinks they know very well what they want to say when they speak. Polemical, ambiguous and polysemic, words in any case sketch out a very precise battlefield.