Thursday, October 8, 2009

In the Jungle of Words

A good friend of mine took her basic Philosophy class with the legendary Fr. Roque Ferriols. He was already old and slow then (heck, he's always been ancient as far as I can recall). But one lazy afternoon, their class was suddenly jolted into attention when he slammed his fist on the table while a student was incoherently rambling in an oral recitation.

"Bakit ka ba nagtatago sa gubat ng salita?!", he shouted.


I have to admit, I'm guilty of this. Words are enchanting to look at, even more enchanting when it's read out aloud (I just love having Ting Ting Cojuangco reading out stuff aloud. Especially the "gorgeously" written stuff). But sometimes in my desire to write "gorgeously", the very basic message that I want to communicate gets lost. It simply ends up in an orgy of words, a paean to written and auditory pleasures. In other words, I end up indulging in what I term "verbal masturbation" (which I think is a far more exquisite term compared to what another friend of mine calls as "word vomit alert").

I think there is a very fine line between eloquent writing and being downright verbose. Writing in a so-called elegant manner can easily snowball into big, big words strung together in meaningless sentences. In this case, the saying holds true: "Ang daming sinasabi, wala namang sinasabi." It becomes a pretty confection: nice to look at, sweet to the taste, but ultimately devoid of substance and meaning.

I should probably always remind myself: back to the basics. The more direct it is, the less energy you expend on writing; the more efficient you get in getting the message across.

After all, why make things complicated when you can make it simple, right?


  1. One can utilize language to elucidate or to obfuscate.

    Which is a fancy-shmancy way of saying we can use words to enlighten or to confuse.

    In advertising, as in life, one can easily tell when one is being sold bullshit. It's the presence of too many words.

    Which is why preachers pontificate and politicians filibuster. To hide the fact that they're full of emptiness.

    Truth, in contrast, is beautiful in its simplicity.

    Thanks for the post. I love it.

  2. verbal masturbation vs. verbal diarrhea. i think i'd prefer the former..

    and oh.. i also love orgy of words!


  3. Which begs the question, am I as barren as the words I inhabit? Is my message any more profound when laid out in the simplicity and brevity of coherence?

    I prefer the term verbal diarrhea though.

  4. Rude: glad you liked it teehee

    Spy: am sure you love anything orgiastic wahahahaha

    Red: ay, wag naman masyadong o.a. words are just words. it's just a part of you and not the whole ;)

  5. but the words
    get in their way
    there's so much i want to say.
    but it is locked deep inside
    and if you look in my eyes..

    (namiss ko agad si gloria estefan)

    --- --

    mahirap talaga ang art of communication kaya instead of words use body language. yun nga lang ang hirap magbody language sa papel

  6. remind myself? :)

    remind me i still owe you an LV sleeping bag.

  7. yes, less is more.

    but i'm also guilty about this verbal masturbation thing, hahaha.

  8. Dabo: lang hiya. napakanta tuloy ako ng body language hahahaha

    Heidi: waaaa where in the owrld are you hiding?! miss na kita!!!

    Max: i bet not just the verbal thing ;)

  9. ay true. i have the same problem sometimes. i am reminded of a fantastic sentence i read somewhere: brevity is power.

  10. Deepa: i know, right? i guess it's a common thing with a lot of peeps who come from you know where hahahahahaha