Etymology of Sinn-sent-senso-sendero etc

Heidgger remarks somewhere (in a note in Unterwegs zur Sprache?) on the Indo-European background to the complex of German 'Sinn', French 'sens', English 'sent' and 'sense', Italian 'senso', Spanish 'sendero', etc. These have the double meaning of 'way', 'away', 'direction', 'path' (Sinn, sens, sent, senso, sendero) and 'meaning' or 'sense' (Sinn, sens, sense, senso).

Why and how do 'way' and 'meaning' belong together?

Consider the case of any everyday example of meaning or sense. How did it come to be understood? Whatever the particulars involved, it must have been the case that the way to this meaning were fitted to it somehow. How else could it have arrived? But how could it be fitted in this way while the process were still underway?

It would seem that the path to meaning - Plato's dialectic - is mysteriously fitted to its object in a way which seems to involve a reversal of time (so that the obect sought is able to reach back to structure the way to it) and which is grounded in some fundamental fashion which is deeper than any particular case.

There is plurality at origin. Enabling and structuring this original plurality are borders. These borders are not possibilities of being because they are between the possibilities of being. They are impossibilities of being which yet belong essentially to being. These impossibilities which bind together the possibilities of being ground all the pathways which are taken to meaning and sense. The possibility at arriving at meaning is grounded in the impossiblities which enable and structure plurality at origin.

It is of the very nature of the pathway (senso) to meaning (senso) to be utterly dark and silent. This path, any path, is grounded in that original difference whose obscurity has been described by poets and thinkers from Hesiod and the Icelandic Edda to Eliot and Beckett:

para venir a lo que no eres,
has de ir por donde no eres.
(San Juan de la Cruz)

In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.

September 21, 2003 in Heidegger, Indo-European parallels, Pathways | Permalink