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The Spiritual QuestTranscendence  in Myth, Religion, and Science$
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Robert Torrance

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780520081321

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520081321.001.0001

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Linguistic Foundations of the Quest

Linguistic Foundations of the Quest

(p.32) Chapter Three Linguistic Foundations of the Quest
The Spiritual Quest

Robert M. Torrance

University of California Press

This chapter argues that self-transcendence inherent in life and intensified by consciousness can attain full expression only through the exclusively human medium of speech, which gives the inchoate questing impulse flexibly structured communicable form. Even though its object may be finally inexpressible, the fully human quest presupposes the creative agency of the word—or sentence—that allows the always-potential future to become the goal of present actions. That language might be essential to the search for an indeterminate future is barely conceivable in the structuralist linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and his school, dominant throughout much of the twentieth century. Above all—and from this, both arbitrariness and immutability follow—langue is a self-contained and hence a closed system, cut off from the external world.

Keywords:   self-transcendence, consciousness, speech, quest, word, actions, language, linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure, langue

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