Plog 11th September 2010

September 11th, 2010 Posted in Uncategorized

To be literal or literary?  That is the dichotomy. 

What tone of voice will you employ to present your message to an unknown audience?  And do you really have to choose between the facts and the flowery?  Maybe it is a false dichotomy.  On my last Plog I told you I would be discussing the equation 1+1=3, so I am hoping you will presently see the logic of heart-based arithmetic.

Literal sounds scrubbed.  Literary sounds lyrical.  Combining them might shave the artistic stubble off our distinguished cadence.   Perhaps this relationship was not meant to be.  But you’ve got to write something, and currently you’re debating what tone of voice to employ. 

And you didn’t come here for dilettante philosophy.  Let’s find some poetry.

Rumi, (جلال‌الدین محمد بلخى) wrote the following in 13th century Persian:

            Go deep and you lose all separation

            Hold your nerve and you cross each boundary

            Get sacred in your love and the numbers will distort

            Where else in the world, Beloved, does 1+1=3?

At the place where you lovingly intend your own fulfilment equally with that of the other person, the beauty of tenderness can unfold.  

In comparison, 1+1=2 is a place where “push comes to shove” and it doesn’t have to.  The most that can be achieved by trading off emotions to engineer the downfall of another is the superficial glamour of appearing either victimised or heroic. That is a game of give and take. Love would appear to be the solution.  If we dare to practice give and receive, the satisfaction of offering our gifts will be authentic.

Dzai explains this succinctly in both his prose and video contained in a sparkling new ezine:, which is free to read.  Please feel free to circulate it to your friends. 

So how does this apply to our original dichotomy?  Trading off the literal for the literary is dismally counter-productive.   They each have unique qualities and for this reason they cannot compete.  In other words, you have created a false economy.

Our society demands clarity for the corporate conception.  All ideas must be analysable and quantifiable.  Flowery language makes no business sense.  “There’s no money in poetry.”  So the answer is simple: be literal.  Our instincts search for truth and beauty.  The impulse is to strive for the literary.  So we wear ‘different hats’ for different purposes and ignore the dissociation deep inside.

Occasionally someone will transcend this deep division.  Let’s try to join them.

Love is the essence of the concept 1+1=3.  Call it balance if you like. At the point where the literal stops competing with the literary and they each intend the total satisfaction of the other, they can co-create better writing, the result of which is greater than a simple combination of its component parts.

The beauty of language is that it does not follow arithmetic regulations.

‘s’ + ‘word’ = ‘sword’, or ‘words’

‘word’ + ‘l’ = ‘world’.

Can you see the powerful strength you have added?  

In this economy, there is a wealth of integration.

Share This Post:
Tweet this! StumbleUpon Digg This! Bookmark on Delicious Share on FacebookEmail To A FriendFeed

Leave a Reply