Good Writing is self-explanatory — it obviates exegesis. Whenever you find yourself obsessing about or arguing with others over the meaning of some otherwise complete text, then whatever else you think you’re doing, you are also proving that the text was poorly written. As a general principle, I think that the harder you have to work to explain the meaning of such a text, the less meaning there actually is in the text to explain.
Of course, that need not imply that the text has no value. Even the worst writing can be beautiful and enduring – a point demonstrated repeatedly by writers of literature, poetry, and religious scripture. Writers like James Joyce, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, heck, even the gods are notorious for writing prolific quantities inscrutable nonsense that just can’t ever quite make it to the recycling pile. Apparently it’s all just too beautiful to throw away. And especially as regards the so-called “Holy Scriptures”, some folks are actually willing to kill and to die over just what the heck all of that beautiful gibberish is actually telling us.
Let me assure you, if you are ready to kill someone else, or to get yourself killed over the so-called “real” meaning of some string of words, then that string of words has no “real” meaning. And unless the text has been poorly preserved or maybe corrupted by the entropic forces of History, then it’s a safe bet that it has just been so poorly written as to be utter nonsense.
In any case, the text is not worth dying or killing for.
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