The oldest words in English are also the shortest. Take verbs. Do, let, go, be, get, short but pregnant with meaning. Multiple meanings, treacherously simple.
They’re short and they refuse to grow. To become longer, subsume others, swallow a prefix in submission, grow a tail, extra organs, a better life, a modern excrescence. No, they stay simple, short and old. They remain permanent.
As languages grow simpler, words become more complex. Ideas develop that words can barely keep up with. At the same time, words emerge that reality can’t always do justice to. In the clash between word and nature, the while range of human possibility fans out like a peacock’s tail.
We appreciate art that takes us back to basics, science which grounds us in fundamental laws, dialectic rooted in first principles.
The most complex ideas are also the simplest. And they need the simplest words to express them, to fly them down the runway. But that can be the biggest challenge of all. For true simplicity requires the biggest effort. And the hardest words, which are also the shortest. Yes and no, do and don’t. Go and stop. A short breath giving rise to a whirlwind. An instance leading to an age. A point feeding into a line.