From Generative Anthropology

Paradox is a fundamental property of signification: the sign confers signification on its referent as already significant.


Paradox constitutes all sign systems, and thus human culture itself. On the originary scene, the originary sign refers to and designates as significant the central object, which was already significant, but only recognizably so once designated. Thereafter, humans on the scene point to, name, and thereby create the center that was already there, compelling and repelling the participants on the scene. Originary signification defines significance as the equivalent to sacrality, experienced independent of one's will, because at the origin there could have been no prior notion of "significance."


The paradoxicality of language, representation, and culture is incomprehensible - it can never be "proven" or reduced to any particular ostensive sign, because it is ostensivity itself. The sacred is the domain within which this element of human paradox is thematized, and religion aims to reconcile us to the paradoxical nature of the human.


Gans, E. L., Katz, A. L. (2019). The Origin of Language: A New Edition

Gans, E. (2018, September 4). Paradox and the sacred - chronicles of love and resentment. Anthropoetics. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from