Mystery of Language

The ultimate origins of language seem to me as mysterious as the origins of the universe itself. One must view it, I feel, simply as the "given." (44)

I'm always caught by Burke's tendency to counter balance "scientific" language with "religious" language. Yet, for all of that, he intertwines them and makes it clear that they are not mutually exclusive, nor one better than the other, but that they perform different functions as far as language is concerned. Of course, I am calling his "dramatistic" use of language a "religious" language. I suppose because it is so entrenched in the "symbol." Meaning (mystery) and structure (definition/power), they can't exist without the other.


mramler's picture

I underlined this, too. And I totally agree with the religious reference. He'll also talk about the religious as the metaphysical, magic, and the poetic. Or vice versa?

HeatherC's picture

I've noticed Burke's balancing act, too. It's not just with scientific/ religious language, but also with sameness/ division (identification). He certainly encourages the reader to consider both sides, or at least a differing viewpoint than what is obvious.