I was listening to someone, telling me “no.” I watched, as they held their finger up, wagging it — like a little, defining ruler, ready to smack me on the head.

And I realized that the first inclination, in considering that word, was — “what?”

Why would that be “no?” Better still, and faster — it’s less about the no-ness — the declaration — and more about the idea of bridling against the concept of restriction.

What I realized is that when someone tells me no, the immediate response is — “no” to no, and yes to getting, and doing, what I want. How greedy and immoderate that might be seen. But, in scene, it’s less for me about the notation of greediness and more to keenness of desire. Advancement, the commitment to curiosity — explore more, here.


I was thinking that — in all the times that people have said “no” (or not, as well) I am not now, or have been, obedient to that proclamation. “No — you can’t go there,” makes me what to go there. “No — oh no, you can’t do that.” That’s an invitation to want to do exactly that.

Seeing that sign, out in the middle of the remotest desert, filled my mind with possibilities. If it says “no,” then really — it could be “yes” for me.

I wonder about no. Is there something in that sound, the structuring of it, that suggests that “no” — that exhalation, actually, is a kind of “nay?” Of course, a word that is as powerful as that would be ancient.

Digging around, the archaeologist of languages, it’s exactly that: ancient and powerful. Prehistoric, actually: from the Proto Indo European base, the seed sounds of pre-history, it’s *ne — “no, not” or “un.” It’s something that’s not there. But it’s not “living,” either — that sound of *ne is the “not” that extends in the breath of the wording — in the second element: *aiw — the Proto Indo European sound for “eternity, long life, life — vital force.” Is is the foundational sound of “none.”

The idea of no — the none, the nothing — is a crippling attitude. I’m sure there are truly good reasonings for the use — but I avoid them.

No, the no-thing, the none — it’s contrary to the fullness of be-ing, the yesness of experience. Not everything is a happy “yes” — but I’ve not seen a “yes” sign, recently.

I’ll keep looking, and restrain my no-nesses to quietude, speaking the yes, while I can.

I do recall, instantly, this gesture:

“For all that has been,
Thank you.

For all that is to come,
— Dag Hammarskjöld

T | the old Pike Place Market, Seattle