Expressive, All-Too Expressive

Have you ever met people who have to constantly talk, express themselves, or maybe speak their ‘truth’?  Although some people like to think that constant expression is a good thing, it’s not.  We need to exercise our right to silence: encounter veils and gaps of solitude, recover coverings, engage in hidings and humiliations, shams and shames.  Gilles Deleuze, in Negotiations, expresses the importance of not always expressing yourself.

We sometimes go on as though people can’t express themselves.  In fact the’re always expressing themselves. […] we’re riddled with pointless talk, insane quantities of words and images.  Stupidity’s never blind or mute.  So it’s not a problem of getting people to express themselves but of providing little gaps of solitude and silence in which they might eventually find something to say.  Repressive forces don’t stop people expressing themselves but rather force them to express themselves.  What a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing the rare, and even rarer, thing that might be worth saying.  What we’re plagued by these days isn’t any blocking of communication, but pointless statements. (129)

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One response to “Expressive, All-Too Expressive

  • Adam Hudson

    I am finding myself in a strange silence since I returned from China. I’m grateful to have returned to the US, but being home for the holidays is also an encounter with old conversations and feelings – threads of myself that I find considerably exhausted… so I’ve been silent about them. It’s valuable to listen and its creative to be hospitable to silence. The reservoirs of patients grow scarce in our culture.

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