Once we began using language we were obliged to form limits for everything. Calling something by name means to draw a circle around it, limiting it by its own definition. Definition has, therefore, a purpose to create limits.

Yet, while this is true, we also have a seemingly insatiable curiosity which, if allowed to operate, will always be struggling to see over the borders of the circles that we have drawn around things. This is more easily done if we first of all understand that the encircling of things by defining them is a process of creating horizons rather than boundaries or solid walls. The horizon, we know, is not an obstacle, but merely an ever expanding limitation. The reality in every thing is alike the flesh of an onion in its complexity and a horizon in its spatiality. When we peel off a layer there is another fine layer underneath; when we approach its limits they keep moving away from us. We can never go beyond it, we just discover how it forever opens itself before our own progress; how it never fails to unfold before us as we move towards the limits that we imagine are there but do not really exist. However, for this eternal unfolding of horizons to take place, we must, first of all, put ourselves in motion and go forward. We can never reach the end of a rainbow, but the landscape around us will change enormously if we try.



  1. This is fascinating. Your thoughts on language remind of me of the ideas of a little-known philosopher and artist named Hilary Lawson. He says that if we as a society are going to return to the practice of sound metaphysics (which we ought to do), it might help to think of reality, not as one *thing* or group of *things*, but as “openess” which we close using our language. The closures that we make help us interact with the openess of the world, but they are by their very nature metaphorical, as all language is.

    I think your metaphor of language being a “horizon” fits very well to this idea and adds insight and depth. Thank you for writing this.

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