The Origin of Language by Eric Gans

The Origin of Language covers a linguistic theory which is fundamentally based on Rene Girard's theory of mimetic desire. Mimetic Theory is a study concerning the imitative nature of human behavior. Gans develops Mimetic Theory into the mind blowing field of Generative Anthropology.

Gans' theory ultimately concludes that human social behavior is rooted in a social center, from which language itself is derived from. This social center is a sacred or divine object which the group has third order attentionality over, third order attentionality being attention which comes with an awareness that others have the same attention, as well as an awareness that they are aware of your attention, "I see you see me". This level of attention is unique to humanity and enables them to learn and use language. Primitive humanity develops language out of a need to defer violence over a sacred or otherwise desirable object, gans implies the first social center may have been a food object.

The originary hypothesis in its raw form isn't that interesting, but when Gans applies it philosophically you arrive at some very profound realizations.

Firstly, secular liberalism loses its ontological grounding when met with this concept of social centrality. Particularly, ideas like John Locke's democratic origin of civilization are completely baseless if the individual doesnt have the agency to make a voting decision without the influence of the social center. The liberal morality of the individual being absolutely superior to the collective is useless when it can't even be said that the independent individual exists as a moral unit. Individuality itself is likely an imitative behavior derived from the traits of the social center. The individual then is a moral entity with a lesser priority than the will of the center since the center is what willed individuality into existence in the first place.

When the individual is conceived of as a subordinate of the sacred center all of the social sciences must be converted from their deeply secular individualistic tendencies. Using the social center as a point of origin for human behavior means that the social sciences begin to focus on interpreting, understanding and applying the will of the center. The social sciences then resemble theology. All human behaviors must be understood in their proper relation to the sacred center/God. The biggest significance of Generative Anthropology then is that it has reverse engineered God out of human behavior, which means that religion is given a new relevance in social sciences and philosophy. Despite being a secular theory, the originary hypothesis has affirmed the existence of God and re-established the supremacy of creator over creation.

Whether you are atheistic or religious this book has a lot to offer, it is hugely important in escaping the secular liberal attitudes that plague philosophy and the social sciences today. I haven't even covered a fraction of the depth this book offers, I would recommend that you read it if you find the topic interesting. Anthropomorphics is a related book from a contemporary of Gans that provides even more insight.