"Full of merit, yet poetically, man dwells on this earth" --Heidegger
Exiled on the slopes of Mount Delectable, I find things in a strange state of affairs. While the rest of us are encouraged of the need to "use" language in as clear, precise and factional manner as possible, our journalists seem to do everything but that-- as they seem more concerned with weaving narratives, making commentary and telling tales.
This is something I really used to notice whenever I would travel back to the US. Where are: "just the facts, ma'am?"
I always find myself wondering this while at the same time the non-journalists around me remain engaged in a helluva lot of reporting. I call it the "what I did today" syndrome where people in many ways seem quite simply incapable of having an interesting conversation about anything that goes beyond personal reporting. The triumph of the self narrative-- in our age of memoirs?
Heidegger was categorically against this concept of language as some kind of "tool" that we "use" to make our inner world knoweable to the outer world. This was in great part because Heidegger discounted this idea of an encapsulated inner world. Da-sein as "being there." There is no being apart from the "there," right?
In his essay, Poetically Man Dwells, Heidegger suggested that the greatest danger language faces is its objectification as a kind of tool; as something that we "use." He was, of course, reacting against the triumph of the clear, precise and efficient use of technological language; that is, the triumph of journalistic speech.
Heidegger's ambiguous ambiguity is not some sort of vagueness or inexactness between two terms (that a word is "wholly one" or "wholly the other" of two meanings) but rather ambiguity is a kind of indefiniteness or openness built into the poetic language itself so that the possibility of meaning is suggested or illuminated, not definited. It is, therefore, open-ended and relationally defined.
This is to celebrate the fact that the best things in life are not efficient--and sometimes the most engaging pieces of writing go through a lot of trouble to make very few points (the best avoiding making any points at all). It is certainly not easy to be ambiguously ambiguous, that's for sure.
Maybe is is somehow similar to the way that the finest landscape aintings have the power to transport and affect us -- in their being a colloboration between phyisical form and human imagination. Poetic language, like a Southern Song landscape-- bathed in mist and drifting hazily in and out of focus-- draws a person in and creates meaning precisely because of its ambiguity. And it is this ambiguity, something that is characteristic of all the finest Southern Song landscapes, where the imagination of the viewer and the emotion of the landscape merge which is so profoundly moving.