If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Sun 8 Apr 2012
As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Two Gentlemen of Verona II.7
The sentiment here expressed offers a neat rhetorical example of the so-called ἀδύνατον adunaton ‘impossibility complex’ – a statement trenchant for its comparing articulation of something that in essence simply can’t happen. As in the Shakespeare quote above, it is as impossible to make snow burn as it is put an end to love with words.
But just what does it mean to ‘put an end to love with words’? That is my question.
Is it that you cannot find the words to talk yourself out of loving the other? or is it that you cannot find the words that would sufficiently describe what it is you are feeling in love for the other? or one set of words at one time, another at another? or something still different?
In any event, whatever it is, it is as impossible as trying to use snow as kindling to start a fire. In short, it is an ἀδύνατον, and somehow in my mind the sheer complexity of love, love’s endless indeterminateness, its obdurate inaccessibility to reason — all make it more than plausible that it is, finally, wrapped up in some kind of impossibility complex.
For all that, still, who of us does not seek it?