Sunday, April 02, 2006

Wherever you _____, there you _____

Do you ever think about that phrase, "Wherever you go, there you are"? It really doesn't make any sense as it is written. The meaning, of course, is that you are where you are, no matter where you happen to be at the time. And if you go somewhere else, you'll still end up exactly where you are.

But to put "go" and "are" in the same phrase is inconsistent; paradoxical, even. The word "go" implies something in the future, not the present, while "are" indicates right at this point in time. Either you are where you are or you are going there, and you'll be there when you get there. It's true, that as you are going there, you are still where you are along the way. But therein lies the difference between motion and stillness. If you take a snapshot in time, everything is still; and wherever you are at that frozen waypoint in time, there you are. But while you are in motion, where you are is also always in a state of motion, always changing; for one cannot be in more than one place at once.

So it's one or the other, but never both together.

Wherever you are, there you are.
Wherever you go, there you will be.

And, there you go.

6 Talked Back:

At April 2, 2006 at 8:13:00 PM CDT, Blogger Nicole said...

Fascinating! Wow, funny and a deep thinker . . . how do you do it?


At April 2, 2006 at 9:50:00 PM CDT, Blogger Meagan said...

Stan, these are exactly the kind of thoughts that constantly torment a grammar-stickler like myself! Have you read the book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" by Lynne Truss? It's a book about grammar and punctuation and is, quite surprisingly, enjoyable and hilarious.

love meagan


At April 3, 2006 at 11:10:00 AM CDT, Blogger Katie said...

I think perhaps its just a statement that means you can't escape yourself. I love how deeply you've disected it.


At April 3, 2006 at 12:17:00 PM CDT, Blogger h-i-p said...

Interesting assessment. However, the act of going indicates a determinate end-goal. For example, one says "I am going to go on vacation," or "I am going to bed," etc. Its acts as a statement of something that will happen in the near or far future.

However the idea of "go" I believe is more indicative of a present action, be it ongoing or intermittent. For example, "I go to church," or "I go for walks," etc.

In this, I believe the statement, however strange it may sound, is hinting (grammatically even) at the idea that even in the act of "going" you are always in a certain place at a certain time. To get from point A to point B you will need to be at A.1, A.2, A.3 . . . and those in and of themselves are legitimates places.

So often, and maybe too often, we think about the future result and forget about the present process. I think this little phrase reminds me at least of the importance of being aware of where we are, who we are, even if we're not exactly where we're supposed "to be" or "go" at that given moment.

I like this : Wherever you go, there you be.

Thanks for the thoughts.


At April 3, 2006 at 9:01:00 PM CDT, Blogger stan said...

Ah, H-I-P, I am following your logic, and I would say to you that even in the act of motion, those A.1, A.2, A.3, etc. waypoints are still singular, in the aforementioned frozen moments in time. So at each of those, you still "are".

Granted, that there would even be frozen points in time is not necessarily a sure thing. You can't measure the infintesimal spaces in between the "points", like you can with a 24-frames-per-second film...

Looks like I have some more thinking to do.


At April 4, 2006 at 11:06:00 AM CDT, Blogger Jana Swartwood said...

I see the verb "go" as directional in nature and the verb "are" as ontological. "Are" implies a consistent state of existence. "Go" implies an impetus to move in a particular direction.

So yes, when you "go" somewhere, you end up being there. But "going" (a process) is different from "arriving" (an end)and, hence, different from "being" (a constant state). When you are going, you are actively pursuing a direction, whereas when you are "being," you simply are.


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