Quotation by Owen Barfield

It has only just begun to dawn on us that in our own language alone, not to speak of its many companions, the past history of humanity is spread out in an imperishable map, just as the history of the mineral earth lies embedded in the layers of its outer crust. But there is this difference between the record of the rocks and the secrets which are hidden in language: whereas the former can only give us knowledge of outward dead things—such as forgotten seas and the bodily shapes of prehistoric animals—language has preserved for us the inner living history of man's soul. It reveals the evolution of consciousness.
Owen Barfield (b. 1898), British philosopher. History in English Words, ch. 1, Faber (1954).
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