Eros, Chaos, and Meaning's Edge No.1

Language is such an odd phenomenon anyway in our species. I mean, notice that you have to have two people to do it, which raises a real question about how you get that coordinated the first time out. And it’s a behavior: it isn’t an organ; it isn’t like my arm, my nose. It’s a behavior. And a learned behavior. And yet, a behavior so much more complex than any other behavior you ever, ever learn. I mean, if the average person could walk like the average person could talk, they would be a prima ballerina of the Russian ballet. It’s very interesting that we have such facility for the linguistic enterprise. And how it evolves—it’s changing all the time. And, well, is it just changing in a kind of forward lateral direction, or is there some kind of vertical gain here? I mean, can we actually describe things better to each other than the ancient Greeks could describe things to each other? Can we say things which they couldn’t say? Or anything of consequence? And I maintain: yes. I maintain that culture—you know, freeways, international airports, so forth and so on—that’s just the trailing edge of evolving language. -Terence McKenna

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