By In Scribblings

Marc Hays: One Miracle of Speech

The following quote is from Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s The Origin of Speech, chapter 4 “The Conflict of Political Sense and Common Sense.” This is a conflict we have all felt, but probably haven’t expressed this way…

“The cry for peace and order is a desperate cry. Shouting for freedom and for regeneration of the good old days is of the utmost violence. The lullabies and sugar coating of common sense are not acceptable to crying, weeping, shouting, raging people. They must experience the miracle of seeing the dead come to life again, and foes become friends, and dissent become agreement, and shouts become new words. They must see and hear and touch before they believe. Formal speech produces exactly these miracles. The dead seem to come to life, shout becomes prayers, foes come to terms; inner dissent becomes harmonious song of strophe and antistrophe, of dialogue and chorus.

If speech did not produce these miracles for society, it would be unnecessary. As a “means of communication” it is only used by common sense. But 10,000 languages have been spoken over thousands of years just as often as means of excommunication as of communication. They have cursed the werewolf and the demon and the enemy just as often as they have blessed the child and invoked the spirit and obeyed the Lord and reconciled the enemy. Any tribe has been exposed to constant attack from within and without. It’s formal language has kept it in existence as a body politic through migrations over the earths and over decimatinons and ravages through time. Miraculously, it is anchored in an eternity and defies space and time. Speech is the political constitution of a group beyond the lifetime and living space of any individual, beyond common sense and physical sense.”

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