Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” –Ludwig Wittgenstein

Or not. We use words that have no meaning all the time. Like our homunculus here. He’s a man of modest means and more modest needs, so he gets by just fine. But what about his wants, namely love and respect? Whatever they are.

He believes a good type of Love exists because there are so many stories about it. But he doesn’t know what that would be and therefore what the word really means. There’s no consensus that he can latch on to; it seems to means anything to anybody any time. The only thing about it he’s found that’s even close to universal about it is that it used as an excuse to do—or a defense after doing—irrational and often destructive things.

Then there’s respect. He knows from experience there’s something called respect that is just a method to get more from an employee or customer—he’s never been anyone else—than they are compensated for. He’d like there to be another version closer to the dictionary definition as that seems like a good way to make society work better for everyone.

He thinks he’s been respectful—both the real and the ideal kinds, sadly. He doesn’t believe he has loved, though he has done irrational and destructive things without knowing why. He knows he’s been respected or loved as described above and neither not been good for him.

So what about the mythological good versions of the words? If they was going to happen to him wouldn’t they have happened by now? You’d think so, he’s not exactly a kid, any more. He tries not to worry about this, but he is only partially successful.

So here he sits inside his own head, contemplating self, others and art in between. He ponders the paradox, or irony that the very words that are the supposed to have the most meaning are the ones most meaningless. But as these meaningless words are still useful in surviving the quotidian games, they imperfect or deceptive as they are, continue to be used.

Can the causes behind these imperfect or deceptive words be expressed more meaningfully—though less usefully—in other languages such as art? Our homunculus here thinks it’s worth a try. But not as a full time job, (do those still exist?) he does go outside himself on occasion, if only to observe the on-going deception and re-justify his lifestyle. And to avoid being hurt, he tries to keep his ponderings to himself and his language simple; “Have a nice day” and so on. But he’s not always successful.