Things I am talking include the work of the novelist Laurence Sterne -- particularly his novel : Tristram Shandy. The novel, was a new form in the 18th century. People say the novel was born in classical myths, in medieval tales, and yet, when we talk of the novel as a form, we mean something of which man, a psychological entity, separable from his surroundings, is the star. This whole notion may be analyzed for its accuracy, but now, that would be a diversion from my point. The novel, published in full by 1767, both invents and exhausts, the form, before it has even become a -- formula. Tristram Shandy parodies the whole idea, of taking an individual and making his life events, to be of some interest, in a linguistic, linear, form.
This kind of birth, where something new is shaken, turned upside down and thoroughly examined, before being commonly used, is similar to what happened when man acquired language. One might assume these births of the novel would proceed with learning and examination of the options slowly evolving with use and time. Such was not the case with Sterne and also not the case with human language. This birth of human language one may easily imagine necessitated millenia to occur. So my focus is on that shaking examination of mind itself, soon after rational discourse was brought on stage, which is evidenced in what we now call--- the Paradoxes of Zeno.
These are remembered today, the most common perhaps, that proving that motion cannot occur. At least such is a common description now, of Zeno's point. An example was that if, with each step, you covered half the remaining distance to your goal, you, would never get to the goal. Actually Zeno's knew quite well that motion was part of human, planetary reality. What Zeno wanted to show was the limitations of language as a tool. He used language itself to prove the inadequacy of words. Such an astounding feat did he accomplish that his deathless reputation is not a surprise. Nor, to someone acquainted with human nature, is the misunderstanding of Zeno's purpose. Motion occurs, language cannot capture it. Our modern world utterly misunderstands Zeno's point about the limitation of language. Modern popularizers of science typically assumes language not just sufficient, but the sole guarantor of reason. Yet Zeno's insights are not out of reach for the empirical among us today.