Lest

The only time people use the word “lest” anymore is on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, when they like to say, “Lest we forget.”

It’s a pompous, pretentious word, and I don’t care for it.

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Language

From the introduction to Eyewitness to History edited by John Carey,  © 1987:

To achieve this effect the good reporter’s report must be individual. It must restore to his experience the uniqueness it rightly possesses– and which worn-out language tries to rob it of. Nietzsche argued that language was originally developed to shield mankind from the inconceivable welter of pre-linguistic reality in which everything– every tree, stone, and breath of wind– was unique. To simplify this mind-jamming variety, language supplied category words– stone, tree, wind– which allowed man to generalize. Though this brought gains, it also entailed losses, because the individuality each creature actually possesses is now hidden beneath the grey blanket of words.

I had never considered language to be an impediment to how we view the world, but I think Nietzsche was right to point out that in some circumstances it can be.

I always liked the way the way certain attributes are described in French.  In English we say, “She is beautiful,” or “He is fat,” but in French they say “She has beauty,” “He has fat.”  I like the way appearances are considered not an intrinsic part of the person, but just something they have with them for the moment.

It feels both more honest and more kind.

Resources

I saw a real change in this country when they changed the name from “Personnel Department” to “Human Resources.”

That’s when we changed from being “persons” to be respected to “resources” to be exploited and discarded.

Geography

Bands with names based on geography:

  • Boston
  • Atlanta Rhythm Section
  • Chicago
  • Dixie Chicks
  • Texas Tornadoes
  • Alabama
  • America
  • Kansas
  • Georgia Satellites
  • Kentucky Headhunters
  • Orleans

After careful consideration, “Earth, Wind, and Fire” was disqualified because the “earth” in the title refers to an element, not a place.

Please add the ones I’ve overlooked in the comments.

Sketches

In this excerpt from Beyond Words by Carl Safina, ©2015, the author discusses the role of words in communication:

Words are at best a loose cargo net of labels that we throw over our wild and woolly perceptions, hoping to catch and observe some of our thoughts and feelings. Words are sketches of the real thing, and some sketches capture a better likeness than others. Can you describe the feeling of an itch without the label “itch”? Neither can a dog, but the dog scratches, so we know it, too, itches. Can you describe the wetness of water? Or how love feels, or sadness, or the smell of snow or how an apple tastes– ? No words equal the experiences.

Speech is a slippery grip for measuring thoughts. People might lie. We sometimes ignore what someone is saying and use body language as a more truthful guide to what they’re really feeling. Sometimes words fail us. And that fact that we learn different languages shows that words are rather arbitrary: that authentic thoughts arise first; then we paste words onto them. Words interpret thoughts. Thoughts come first.

Centric

Anthropocentric:  an·thro·po·cen·tric (ăn′thrə-pə-sĕn′trĭk) adj.

  1. Regarding humans as the central element of the universe.
  2. Interpreting reality exclusively in terms of human values and experience.

 

Some people are looking at this and thinking, “Of course!”

Some people are not.