no.2 Empty a Word of its Meaning





This can take place anywhere, and at any time. Simply make sure, once again, that no one can here you. Best to avoid the fear of being ridiculed while you're doing it. Speaking to oneself is nothing. But to be spied on and teased would spoil the desired result.
So, choose a place where no one will hear you. Take what comes to hand, the most ordinary object – a pen, a watch, a glass – or even a piece of your clothing: a button, a belt, a pocket, a shoelace. Whatever. Just let it be ordinary. Its name is known, its presence familiar. You have always called this object by the same word. Consistent, natural, normal. 
Now take this inoffensive, familiar, safe little object in your hand. Repeat its name, in a low voice, as you look at it. Stare at the watch in your hand and repeat: 'watch', 'watch', 'watch', 'watch', 'watch', 'watch', 'watch'. You can keep going. It shouldn't take long. In a few seconds the familiar word detaches itself, and hardens.You find yourself repeating a series of strange sounds. A series of absurd and meaningless noises, that denote nothing, indicate nothing, and remain insensate, formless or harsh. 
You probably experimented like this as a child. Nearly all of us have felt the extreme fragility of the link between words and things. As soon as it is twisted, or pulled, or distended, that link becomes problematic. It becomes contorted, or it breaks. The word dries out and crumbles. A scattered shell of sonorous inanity. 
And what happens to the object is no less startling. It's as though its substance becomes thicker, denser, cruder. The object is somehow more present, and differently so, the moment it escapes the fine net of recognisable syllables. 
You should repeat this old game of dissociation. Try to observe the moment when meaning dissolves, and how a new, raw reality emerges outside of words. 
Glimpse the hard scale beneath the prose. Repeat the same word several times, for the same object, and dissipate all meaning. Is it not marvellous? Terrifying? Funny? Just a few seconds are enough to tear that fine film within which we make sense of things, smug with the power of giving things a name. 






Droit, R-P (2001) 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life