Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A matter of perspective

The extinction of a language however remote, however immune to historical-material success or diffusion, is the death of a unique world—view, of a genre of remembrance, of present being and of futurity. A truly dead language is irreplaceable. It closes that which Kierkegaard bade us keep open if our humanity was to evolve: ‘the wounds of possibility’. Such closure may, for late twentieth-century mass-media and mass-market technocracy, be a triumph. It may facilitate the imperium of the fast-food chain and the news-satellite. For the lessening chances of the human spirit, it is destructive.—George Steiner, No Passion Spent, pages 150–51

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