In a chapter of his book The World of Silence, Max Picard describes the character of ancient languages as proceeding from silence. The anthropologist might think this is just a metaphor but there is an economy and starkness in ancient languages that conforms to nature as much as to the primitiveness of the language’s culture. It is not speculation to imagine the link of such people to the primordial silence from plain, forests, deserts, mountains.

Ancient languages have no experience of the enormous degree of contrivance, tecnology, and artificial social structure and classes that modern times have evolved.

Picard thinks of ancient languages as vertical pillars, both strong and stable but also spare and necessary. There are no frills and excesses, for the language emerges from the same minnimal necessity as the seasons and the stars.

Modern thought and expression oscillates horizontally, accomplishing or signifying little, recording the interminable oscillations of culture, artificial thought, the latest technology. Returning to silence is not merely to still the clamoring voice of restlessness within us but to disengage from the contrivances of what is human-made and to listen to the primordial within us.