Man does not exist prior to language, either as a species or as an individual.    —Roland Barthes, "The Rustle of Language" (1984)

As soon as we put something into words, we devalue it in a strange way. We think we have plunged into the depths of the abyss, and when we return to the surface the drop of water on our pale fingertips no longer resembles the sea from which it comes. We delude ourselves that we have discovered a wonderful treasure trove, and when we return to the light of day we find that we have brought back only false stones and shards of glass; and yet the treasure goes on glimmering in the dark, unaltered.     —Maurice Maeterlinck, "The Treasure of the Humble" (1896)