On signs, symbols, and the origins of meaning.
Trace it with me: age of gods, age of heroes, age of men.
Our first language was born of knowing its poverty.
We relied on signs and symbols. Then came metaphor,
and then our measly letters, where we pretended
to be saying precisely what we meant.
Hieroglyphs suffice when observance
is more important than discussion,
as with religions and the like.
Which came first, I wonder? Letters or language,
chickens or their eggs?
Attempting to separate one from the other is folly.
The first speakers, by necessity of nature, were poets.
Here is the key to any meaningful science worth following:
the source of all poetry is poverty of language,
catalyzed by a need to express.
The point? To learn the language
spoken by some eternal history,
across time. Another: to name
the beginnings of learning.
To our unseen source, knowledge
and creation are one
and the same. We
are mind and spirit;
intellect and will, but
it’s the function of wisdom
to fulfill both.
Children of nascent mankind
created things according to their ideas,
which are not to be confused with God.
But usually are.
The role of fear
should not be discounted here,
in stoking robust ignorance,
in their infinite vanity,
no sooner imagine than they believe.
Natural curiosity, the daughter
of ignorance and mother
of knowledge, gives birth:
By Jove, the thundering sky.
Adapted from The New Science of Giambattista Vico, translated by Thomas Goddard Bergin and Max Harold Fisch.