Seamus Heaney if you have the words

My writing table at home has 4 dictionaries (including the original 1828 dictionary of the American language) and 2 dictionaries of word origins.  I love plunging into them and following where they lead, through endless corridors of thought and back in time.

Looking up honor leads to pleasure-filled explorations of esteem, dignity, reputation, character, nobleness of mind, then tracing its roots back to the word honorem in Cicero’s LatinThe meaning of this word hasn’t changed in over 2,000 years.   I thrill to the idea that honor is so ingrained in who we are, even thousands of years ago the most popular writer of his time used the same word we do today when he penned the words, Facultatem sine honorem est inutilia (Ability without honor is useless).  A concept I quite agree with.

Words to me are pure magic.  They empower us to be magicians.

What is a word?  A symbol.   Made of letters if written and sounds if spoken.  A word is not the real thing – the word for ocean is not an ocean.  You can’t eat the word ice cream.

We use words to relay our ideas.

An idea is a thought about something as opposed to its physical solidity.   Its derivation is the Latin word video which means “to see”.  It’s the thought you have, what you hold or see in your mind.  It could be your purpose or intention, an impression of the physical universe, your desire for a future, an emotional experience, an image.  Almost anything.  What’s important about ideas is that they’re not in the physical universe.

Here’s what’s amazing.  When you communicate, you take something that is not in the physical universe and relay it over to another person so that that person gets it, so they see exactly and completely what you see.  So they get and understand your meaning.

That’s where words come in.  Words embody concepts and ideas.  Embody means give a bodily form toBodily means a physical structure.  So, words embody concepts and ideas, meaning they give concepts and ideas a body so these ideas can be visible in the physical universe.

Don’t tell me that’s not magic.

Magic is the art or science by which surprising and wonderful effects are produced.  It comes from the Old Persian word magush which meant to have power.

Words are how we produce surprising and wonderful effects and through which we have power.  Exhilarating.

May you produce many surprising and wonderful effects and be exhilaratingly powerful.



2 thoughts on “Words

  1. It is magic, Ingrid! I agree completely…without a common understanding of words we are helpless to share even the most fundamental ideas, let alone poetry and philosophy. Thank you for sharing your ideas in this beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

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