My Sophistication-Gene


The number of theories floating around about Language are prodigious, even by the grant-induced profligacy of modern academic opinion.

Well, it all started by us imitating birds and animals, says one theory. It really started when men began living in groups, says another. Might be, but Man didn’t learn to speak until he discovered God and ritual, adds a third. That’s not it, it has to do with mother-child bonding, says a fourth. Of course not, it’s all neuro-muscular; it began with the facial muscles and the tongue.

The more widely followed of the newer theories posit some sort of gene, a patch, a point, in mind-brain space. We are not sure where it is, when or how this center came alive, or why on earth it did. But this mysterious center is where it all started. [Only a Professor lost in language would not see the deeply religious origin of such views.]

If you try and not let your sophistication-gene get reflexively activated, you’ll see that the above penetrating review of language is itself entirely in language. Even all this talk about mysterious origin and ontological ground. All in language.