The Pursuit

A practical framework for life.


Language is an attempt to consistently and efficiently describe reality. And its toolbox is the dictionary — or rather, all the words in it. Simply put, words represent some thing or event in reality. From "human" to "jump" to "love", words are a shorthand for perceived similarities in the universe. And these words are necessary. Without them, shared understanding and effective communication would be impossible.

But language's purpose is also its flaw.

You see, while language speaks in terms of similarities and generalizations, reality is unique and specific. We may use "leaf" to describe two "things" on a tree — and yes, their DNA may even be the same — but two leaves are never the same. They have different shapes, shades, and even atoms. But when we use the word "leaf", we reduce that "thing" to something we can grasp — something we understand and have experienced before. And this doesn't just apply to two "different" things, like two leaves on the same tree — it applies to the "same" thing at different points in time, like you today versus two weeks from now.

While you'll continue to be called by your name, you'll have new cells and experiences. You'll be different. Sure, you may still have some of the same interests and tendencies. But to call you the same person would be inaccurate. And yet, when you see a friend two weeks from now, they won't treat you like a new acquaintance. They'll look at you with the same eyes — the same beliefs and expectations — that they did previously.

And so, while language is necessary, it does a disservice to reality. In attempting to describe the indescribable, words constrain reality. Through simplifications, generalizations, and connotations they mischaracterize and water it down. They fail to capture the complexity, uniqueness, and dynamism of life. And as a result, we never truly see, understand, or experience reality.