Like Ferdinand Saussure, the Chinese scholar Ernest Fenallosa believed that in language there are no concrete objects outside a web of correlating meaning. Fenallosa based his ideas on a close study of nature: in nature no “thing” exists in isolation because things cannot be removed from their relationships, represented in language by verbs (in order to exist a thing must be the object or subject of a successive or continuous action).

I don’t know for how long I’ve tried to make myself a noun. Nouns are endings, deaths, and I have felt dead. Nouns are by nature distant. From this day forward, I act, like a verb: I will construct objects and subjects, become an impromptu object or subject, correlate in turn to objects and subjects via other verbs. Nouns drop in and out of the lexicon, they are replaced and forgotten as newer words supplant their meanings. Verbs, the core of action, the core of thought, even supplanted figure into other words, their relations (the Latin jacere, “to throw”: eject, subject, object, abject, etc).

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