"When Thomas Paine exclaimed: 'These are the times that try men's souls,'" Rosenstock-Huessy noted, Paine "did not mean men's bodies or men's minds. And we know it." In this book devoted to knowledge of that mysterious entity, "soul," which neither philosophers nor psychologists will have anything to do with, Rosenstock-Huessy gives soul essential, practical meaning. Without recourse to anything mystical or transcendental or merely poetic, he assures us of the reality of the individual soul for healthy human beings, and connects it to his larger work on an entirely new grammar that elevates to primacy the imperative and vocative forms of speech.
Rosenstock-Huessy makes us aware, as few other writers can do, of the limitations inherent in the structure of the natural and social sciences, how much is blindly left out for the sake of adhering strictly to materialist and quantitative methods. In any lifetime there are profound transformations of one's soul, which a correct analysis of grammar, true to human experience, helps us recognize and appreciate. As he states here, "The grammar of the soul is not an ineffectual luxury. . . . The disclosure of the miraculous world of the soul by a grammar based on the primal forms will create an applied study of the soul that should assume its place next to the modern era's technical natural science."