containers for the thing contained

“. . . we ourselves think of books as ‘containing’ chapters and paragraphs, paragraphs as ‘containing’ sentences, sentences as ‘containing’ words, words as ‘containing’ ideas, and finally ideas as ‘containing’ truth. Here the whole mental world has gone hollow. The pre-Agricolan mind had preferred to think of books as saying something, of sentences as expressing something, and of words and ideas as ‘containing’ nothing at all but rather as signifying or making signs for something.”

(Walter J. Ong, Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: from the art of discourse to the art of reason, p. 121; cited in Josipovici’s The World and the Book, p. 149.)

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