Mother of All Etymologies

Discuss word origins and meanings.

Mother of All Etymologies

Post by spiritus » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:15 am

Erik,
(Waving a tattered white flag as I approach.)

Thank you for the congrats'. But, don't be impressed. I miss points with pretty much the same frequency that others fail to make them.

The 'explanatory power' of myths in general, and the significance of the biblical myths: Tower of Babel and Garden of Eden, in particular, in relation to language origins, has produced a substantial body of published research by linguists, cultural anthopologists, and social and behavioral psychologists.

My votes for most interesting conclusions on the connective implications of these two myths and language origins, would be the writings of; Noam Chomsky, Joseph Campbell, and Carl Jung.

"I would like to think that overall we have moved on in our knowledge of the world since these accounts came into being (despite the ludicrous attempts now being made in some US states to interpolate creationist dogma into the teaching of science, where it patently has no place)."

Erik, reading the above brought to mind a statement made by the theoretical physicist, Niel Bohr. Awarded the Nobel Prize for his invention of the particle accelerator and contributions to the field of quantum mechanics; during his acceptance speech, he said:

"...for more then a hundred years we believed in the immutable laws of scientific methodology as the arbiter of our reality...using the maps supplied by...Copernicus, Gallileo, Newton and Einstein...our standards of proof were also the limits of our knowing...as we slowly...painfully...grope and stumble toward intellectual maturity...we begin to learn, that our science is the instrument that defines our perceptual boundaries...but...of far greater importance is the understanding imparted by this knowledge...an understanding that, with the concentrated energy of a laser, impresses upon the consciousness reality's only truth...the law of singular duality. It is this. All probabilities are possible. All possibilities are probable."

(I'm pretty sure Einstein was during multiple revolutions in his grave at the same time.)

As I recall, the site Louis submitted, has a link for visitor comments and opinions. If Mongrowl, is not the site owner, your criticisms may have been mis-directed.

As you know, the prevalence of opinions, is roughly equal in number to a certain body orifice. We are free to ignore or accept the former. The essential functions of the latter, prohibit any similiar latitude. Point being: Try to avoid anal-retentive reactions to the opinions of others.


Dabru Emet
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:41 am

Let me get this straight. When you express an opinion here, however faulty its assumptions are, however patronising it is, and however irrelevant the points you wheel in to support your argument are, it is a legitimate statement, and when I express an opinion, regardless of its consistency with logic, observable fact and the general purpose of this site, it is an 'anal-retentive reaction to the opinions of others'?

As an artist, such ability as you have displayed for the open-minded acceptance of criticism does you credit. Kudos to you!
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Post by mongrowl » Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:28 pm

Spiritus, thank you for being supportive. I just wanted to be helpful and assist you in your inquiries. I hope some use was found in one of those cites and none of them is associated with me. I have concluded that I am more of a synthesizer than an analyzer, where I am inclined to try and connect and bring together than separate and keep apart. Standards are all well and good but there should be tolerance. As I think demonstrated, this is a good place to bring something to be torn apart.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Apr 20, 2005 6:42 pm

Spiritus, That’s a very interesting quote that you attribute to Neils Bohr upon his receipt of the Nobel Prize in physics. Did you invent it yourself or did someone else actually write it? (<:)

I like your
“for his invention of the particle accelerator and contributions to the field of quantum mechanics”
and I especially enjoyed
“with the concentrated energy of a laser”
This is all very curious since 1) The laser was invented (and the word first appeared) in 1960 and did not exist in 1922 when Neils Bohr received the Nobel Prize "for his services in the investigation of the structure of atoms and of the radiation emanating from them." 2) Bohr, a theoretical physicist, did not “invent” the particle accelerator, which WAS invented by experimental physicists J.D. Cockroft and E.T.S. Walton in 1928.

A second possibility was that your quote was actually referring to Aage Bohr, Neils Bohr’s son, also a theorist, who shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1975 with Ben Mottelson, and Leo Rainwater "for the discovery of the connection between collective motion and particle motion in atomic nuclei and the development of the theory of the structure of the atomic nucleus based on this connection.” However, although he certainly could have mentioned a laser in 1975, he had nothing to do with the invention of the particle accelerator which, incidentally, occurred when he was just six years old.

So which Bohr are you referring to and could you please apprise us of your “impeccable” source, if any? Or is this perhaps your example of the power of myths? (<:)
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Post by spiritus » Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:44 pm

Good evening Mr. Greenwald,

It is both an honor and a pleasure to meet you.

I must tell you, I thoughly enjoy this site and its contributors.
My admiration for your reasoned, thoughtful and civil responses, increases with each reading of your postings. The elegant articulation and keen intelligence that characterizes your writings, are standards, that I frankly admit, I can only hope to attain someday.

The thoughness and scholarship of your research methodology, is to my thinking, an ideal model of the effective use of the internet as a learning tool. Your research model should be required curriculum in every institution of learning in America.

"Spiritus, That’s a very interesting quote that you attribute to Neils Bohr upon his receipt of the Nobel Prize in physics. Did you invent it yourself or did someone else actually write it? (<:)"

I invented it myself. I was hoping Erik would challenge its authenticity. But, then again, I'd started to wonder which of my excesses would prompt you to enter the silly fray.

"So which Bohr are you referring to and could you please apprise us of your “impeccable” source, if any? Or is this perhaps your example of the power of myths?"

Mr. Greenwald, Neil Bohr's contributions to quantum theory were minor, if that. As you make clear, his area of focus and concern, was the sub-atomic properties of atoms.

As you alluded to in your question, my example only provided the myth. The unquestioned acceptance of it provided the power.

As you impressively demonstrated, a little research goes a long way, and if one prefers to do so, simply pulls the plug from any myth's power source.

Mr. Greenwald, if you will forgive my excesses, I solemnly promise that all my future postings will be in strict adherence with the model provided by the 'tips from an expert' link. I swear.

In addition, I will make a concerted effort to acquire a used copy of the Chicago Book of Style and a good dictionary, the necessity of both should be obvious to any reader of my postings.

Thank you Mr. Greenwald, for your tolerance and time. Please accept those blessings that are mine to give.
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Post by haro » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:10 pm

Spiritus, you are a brilliant rascal, but please respect the difference between a rascal and a troll.

Where did you find that connection between Greek 'logos' and Hebrew 'loh-gohs'? Or was that made up too? Hebrew is not my field, but the only Google hits I get for 'loh-gohs' virtually all refer to the pronunciation of the Greek word 'logos' for native English speakers. Searching for loh-gohs AND Hebrew yields no hits at all. Zilch. Not that I believe in hit counts, but none at all is a bit measly.

You wrote that "the beginning of the Greek Genesis of John 1:1" is "En ra-KAY ayn ha LOH-gohs." That, again, is just sort of a flawed transliteration for English speakers; flawed in that it should read 'ar-KAY,' not 'ra-KAY.' The Greek original can be fairly easily transliterated as "En archê ein ho lógos."

If there is a connection between the Greek 'logos' and the Hebrew 'loh-gohs' as 'mind of God,' how come Greeks always have used the verbal form of 'logos' - namely 'legein' / 'lego' - for 'to speak' or 'to say'? Wouldn't that imply that saying anything would mean uttering the mind of God? Isn't that a bit far-fetched?

As for your question concerning tautology (may I call it a leading question?) - I think there is a clear line between evidence-based conviction and tautology. The line between evidence and belief, however, sometimes is less clear, especially on the Internet.
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Post by spiritus » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:19 pm

Erik,

Please accept my sincere apologies for any offense given by my posting. Erik, I have nothing but appreciation and respect for the mind that is you.

Though I did not say your responses were anal-rententive; but merely cautioned an avoidance of such responses, I still feel that an expression of contrition on my part is in order.

Using your name and the word 'anal', in the same sentence, was obviously over the top.

"As an artist, such ability as you have displayed for the open-minded acceptance of criticism does you credit."

Erik, the saber like sharpness of your perception has identified a major flaw in my character.

You are correct. I do have a low tolerance for criticism. My acceptance of it is only tolerable, if the criticism is accompanied by a full body massage,--- preferably performed by the critic.

Erik, I have entrusted you with this secret. Promise me, you will tell no one.
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Post by spiritus » Thu Apr 21, 2005 6:57 am

Haro, Good evening. I hope all is well in your world.

"Spiritus, you are a brilliant rascal, but please respect the difference between a rascal and a troll".

Equating me with rascals and trolls, not only gives trolls and rascals a bad name; but by associating me with them, you have effectively barred rascals and trolls from ever being admitted to certain, really cool, religious organizations.

I would have you know that I have a profound respect for the differences between a troll and a rascal. Trolls care deeply, as to how they are viewed by others. This is most likely due to issues of self-esteem. You know, bowed-legs, habitats limited to the underside of bridges, forced social ties with billy goats, etc.

The rascal, in contrast, is unconcerned with that label, placed upon him by others. He defines himself. And in ways less obvious, encourages others to see themselves as the self contained joyful creators of reality that they are. He sees the inherent value and grace of others as a reflection of himself. There are those whom intuitively know what he is. And he recognizes the 'rascal' in them. Their meetings are always a mutual embrace.

Now, interaction with the so-called rascal figure makes certain individuals extremely uncomfortable. These are most often, persons with a deep seated fear of trolls...a reflective response to the self, if you will.

But I ramble. Since I am neither a 'brilliant rascal' nor troll, I will leave further discussion of the rascal/troll paradigm to all brilliant rascals and dim trolls wishing to contribute. (You know who you are.) Please include the word origins and the meaning of 'rascal' and 'troll' in your posting. No pictures please.

The writings you referenced are not 'made-up'.

Haro, Mr. Greenwald has identified my singular creative effort.
I have confirmed it.



My postings are not personal opinions or speculative musings (with the exceptions of my postings in response to Erik's opinionated personality and its amusing spectacle---Erik, I said that as I typed it---and I'm presently chewing gum. Betcha, a 13 inch, busted black and white TV; you can't do that, tough guy---without taking the gum outa the wrapper first.)

Haro,

If you have no objections, I would prefer to e-mail you certain materials regarding your inquiry. They will no doubt prompt a response to which I will respond. And that may be the pattern of our discourse for awhile.

Posting now would inevitably incur comments to which we might feel it necessary to respond. I think the subject of your concerns in general and the fact it is you whom stated them, warrant a focused and rigorously supported response on my part. I am not averse to posting parts or the entirety of our correspondence at a later point.

Feel free to e-mail me stating your preferences.

As you travel Haro, it is my wish that gentle sun is always upon your face and may the western wind be always at your back.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:18 pm

A yachtsman like Hans Joerg for whom those wishes were always fulfilled would frequently be forced to steer a most eccentric course... :-)
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Post by haro » Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:44 pm

Spiritus, I'm afraid you misconstrued my remarks on rascals and trolls. The rascal stuff was meant to be sort of a compliment, 'rascal' meaning "One that is playfully mischievous" according to The American Heritage Dictionary, 'mischievous' being used in the sense of "Playful in a naughty or teasing way" according to the same source. Of course I know that 'rascal' can also mean a scoundrel, but I think the word 'brilliant' should have made things sufficiently clear.

On the other hand, a troll is not only a creature of Scandinavian folklore. Although of the same origin, in Net lingo a troll is someone who posts forum messages, often completely made-up ones, mainly to cause confusion and provoke rash reactions that can be used to poke fun at the posters. Internet trolls do not "care deeply, as to how they are viewed by others" - quite the opposite. That's what I meant.

You made up that whole physics stuff. That's troll style. Too bad there are several physicists among the moderators. I wonder what you would have done if none of us had smelled the rat. While looking around you may have noticed that there often is quite a lot of teasing between frequent contributors to this forum. But we don't pull each other's legs, not even in a pretty tough skirmish. However, since I don't question your sincerity, I'll get in touch with you as you suggested.
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Post by spiritus » Fri Apr 22, 2005 2:09 am

Erik,

Yes, in nautical terms, that course would indeed be eccentric---and in violation of certain laws of motion.

My sematic and philosophical allusion, was intended to encourage a quantum or Janus-like duality, in approaching all things; that would include different points of view.

Sorry you missed the boat.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Apr 22, 2005 3:18 am

Yes, the likes of me are obviously far too literal-minded to join you on your voyage to transcendent and multifaceted apotheosis.

But do give my regards to St Peter/the arts editor of the New York City Sun/whatever once you get there. :-D
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Post by spiritus » Sat May 07, 2005 12:01 am

Erik, the mere evidence of a mind, be it, ‘literal’; 'little' or of any variety, guarantees VIP passenger status on that voyage. Your mind, more then qualifies. I would welcome your company on that voyage---Though, I refuse to share my sleeping cabin. So, please don’t ask.

Conveying your regards to St. Peter is highly problematic. To which St. Peter would I convey your regards? You failed to use a ‘title identifier’. There is more then two hundred ‘St. Peters, in the Catholic pantheon of saints and beati.
The rule for referencing a saint within a text requires inclusion of the full title; e.g., St.Peter the Apostle; St. Peter of Claver; St Peter the Venerable, etc.

Even if I assumed you meant the better known patron saint, Peter the Apostle, getting his attention might require addressing him by his true name, which was not Peter. St. Peter's true and original name was Simon, sometimes occurring in the form Symeon. (Acts 15:14; II Peter 1:1).
“…Jesus, who, looking upon him, said: "Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter… the change of Simon's name to Cephas (Kephas; Aramaic Kipha, rock), which is translated Petros (Lat., Petrus…Later, probably at the time of his definitive call to the Apostolate with the eleven other Apostles, Jesus actually gave Simon the name of Cephas (Petrus), after which he was usually called Peter,…The Evangelists often combine the two names, while St. Paul uses the name Cephas...

…The more prominent the Apostles become in the Evangelical narrative, the more conspicuous does Peter appear as the first among them. In the list of the Twelve on the occasion of their solemn call to the Apostolate, not only does Peter stand always at their head, but the surname Petrus given him by Christ is especially emphasized (Matthew 10:2): "Duodecim autem Apostolorum nomina haec: Primus Simon qui dicitur Petrus. . ."; Mark 3:14-16: "Et fecit ut essent duodecim cum illo, et ut mitteret eos praedicare . . . et imposuit Simoni nomen Petrus"; Luke 6:13-14: "Et cum dies factus esset, vocavit discipulos suos, et elegit duodecim ex ipsis (quos et Apostolos nominavit): Simonem, quem cognominavit Petrum . . ."


http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm
Though you have yet to tell me if this is the St. Peter, to whom you wish to send your regards; I would like to think it is. The reason being, I perceive from your writings, at least two possible attributes of character common to you and implied in certain personality descriptions of the historical apostle, Peter:
“…rash alike in word and act, he is full of zeal and enthusiasm, though momentarily easily accessible to external influences and intimidated by difficulties. -----Catholic Encyclopedia: Lives of the Saints; Peter the Apostle.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm


Secondly, my cursory review of Catholic religious doctrines, suggests that effective communication with any saint, is a privilege allowed only to the true believer. I don’t qualify. My personal faith is invested in a peculiar form of atheism, which posits ones Self as both the worshipped deity and the worshipper. I like to think that my faith, belief, and ‘religion’, and the lack thereof, are embodied in the simple dictum, There is Nothing Greater Then the Self.

There may be exceptions to the rule prohibiting godless persons of my ilk conveying regards of any kind to Catholic saints. I don’t know. But, I do have a suggestion.

Use your formidable analytical skills as a Defender of Reason and Logic and research the issue. Do let me know your findings.

Erik, if you would employ the same effort, implied by the admonition, ‘think before you speak’, and manifest its equivalent, ‘research/support./cross-reference before you write’, I’ll consider converting to Catholicism.

Giving your regards to the arts editor of the New York City Sun is within my secular skills, and yours. Though you also failed to supply a name, I think I know to whom you referred. Personally expressing your wishes for his well being is easily enough done.

I would do it for you, were it not for my allergic reaction to art critics, both nameless and named. I have a note by a witch-doctor confirming this.

Last I heard, the former arts editor of the New York City Sun,is presently the managing editor of the New York Daily Challenge. If and when you correspond with him, please give my disregards.

Finally however, the ‘whatever’ you requested I give your regards to was not clear. My research provided no definitions for the word or pronoun, ‘whatever’.

Unless, you meant ‘whatever' in a non-literal sense. The figurative usage of the two-joined words what and ever, could be interpreted as an allusion to some idea of God; as in The Great Whatever. If that is the case, your mind is not as literal as you insist it is. Furthermore, you need not verbally express your regards, since, according to ‘powerful myths’ concerning a supreme intelligence, the omnipresence of God/Whatever, includes your mind and thoughts.

Erik, here’s an allusion I’ve constructed specifically for you: May both moon and sun(1) simultaneously illuminate(2) your path(3) .


(1). Here ‘moon and sun’, may symbolize respectively; ‘heart and mind; intuition and intellect; subconscious and conscious; spirit and flesh; or myth and fact.
(2). To‘illuminate’: knowledge of self as a revelatory source.
(3). ‘Path’: meaning ‘the way’, as a special process or system of knowledge acquisition. ‘The greater value is in the chosen path, not the destination’.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat May 07, 2005 1:57 am

Perhaps we atheists should unite under the standard of 'Bantheism'... No, just kidding!

Although, despite the impression I must have created with my reference to the annoyingly ubiquitous SS Peter -- regarding whom the task you have implicitly set of determining the precise total is at least as productive as that other Jesuitical conundrum of calculating the terpsichorangelic capacity of the head of a pin -- I am as much a Catholic as I imagine you dislike being considered a maverick.

But seriously, few people have taken as much trouble to illuminate my overcast pathway to spiritual well-being as you have, Spiritus old friend! (You have no doubt hit on something quite gnomonic with such a telling nickname!)

Anyhow, your efforts are possibly much appreciated in some quarters, even as my feeble intellect struggles to grapple with your most excellent suggestions. I shall henceforth regard them as my daily New York challenge. I daresay that I need only wait a while, and in a few decades from now, all may become clear.

In the meantime, old son, may your god go with you when you moon.
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Post by spiritus » Thu May 12, 2005 7:16 am

Erik_Kowal wrote: Perhaps we atheists should unite under the standard of 'Bantheism'... No, just kidding!
To paraphrase Groucho Marx;

"I would never unite with any group that would have me as a member".

What is the Banthist standard?

Erik_Kowal wrote:Although, despite the impression I must have created with my reference to the annoyingly ubiquitous SS Peter
The impression you assume you created was not my impression in the least. As you intended to convey, and as I understood your reference to mean; you have as much reverence for St. Peter and my comments as you have tolerance for the religious beliefs or ideas that respectively inform either of those two factors.
Erik_Kowal wrote: regarding whom the task you have implicitly set of determining the precise total is at least as productive as that other Jesuitical conundrum of calculating the terpsichorangelic capacity of the head of a pin -


Complying with your request Erik, did not require knowing the precise number of saints named St. Peter. Minimal literacy utilized in the reading of my comments makes clear that my productivity in fulfilling your request was incumbent upon your at least conveying the full name for whom your regards were intended.

The far greater metaphysical requirements of determining how many angels fit onto the head of a pin, not unlike the task you assigned, also fails to provide two important details.

The conditional determinants are; the size of the pinhead used and instructions as to whether the angels are placed standing wing-to-wing or lay length-wise, halo to heel. These are important details.
Certain Jesuits and atheists both seem inclined to pass over and even neglect the details. This may well be due to a shared proclivity to believe that, there is truth in the worn adage, the ‘Devil is in the details'.

Nevertheless, I am more inclined to speculate as to the number of pins that can be stuck into the average angel.
The value of either task is directly proportional to the individual's derived satisfaction in accomplishing them.
Erik_Kowal wrote:I am as much a Catholic as I imagine you dislike being considered a maverick
You may imagine correctly that were you a Catholic or not, or I considered a maverick or conformist, none of those conditions or assumed perceptions would be reasons to engender likes or dislikes on my part.
Erik_Kowal wrote:But seriously, few people have taken as much trouble to illuminate my overcast pathway to spiritual well-being as you have, Spiritus old friend! (You have no doubt hit on something quite gnomonic with such a telling nickname!)
In truth Erik and with no lesser degree of seriousness, expressing the I-Deius or ideas implicit in the adage, ‘we share light' is not a matter of ‘taking the trouble to illuminate your pathway’. By our simply being, does all illumination have its source. The 'lightness of being' suggests the amount of effort involved. Obstacles in your path and the state of your spiritual-wellness are manifested solely by your Self----and no thing , person, or event has sway in that regard.


Understanding the meaningful pointlessness of attempting to pinpoint the number of people or angels in disguise, for whom we provide illumination and from whom we receive it, is in equal measure to the wattage of the inherent light supplied by contemplations of the Jesuits theosophical inquiry and its meaningless pointed answer.

(You may consider the above, your New York daily challenge for today. (;-)

As you know, 'spiritus' is from the Ecclesiastical Latin meaning ‘breathe’. Not to be confused with 'hot air', which I have been falsely accused of expelling. The words “nomena’ and ‘ka’ are also appropriate metaphorical equivalents for what you assume my motivations to be and for that which you and I really are.

Even if I were brain-dead, as has also been suggested by the less- then-kind, my continuing respiratory processes might be the inspiration for my using spiritus as a name, which describes one of my least consciously controlled bodily functions. Beyond this and your erroneous assumptions as to reasons or the appropriateness of choice in its usage as a screen name, further clarity will require direct questions. Of course, this offer is invalid upon my expiration. Spirals and spires may ignore the above.

When I hear the echoed Shakespearean question: "What’s in a name?"
I respond in unison with Nietzsche’s more relevant probe, "Who is speaking?"
Erik_Kowal wrote:Anyhow, your efforts are possibly much appreciated in some quarters, even as my feeble intellect struggles to grapple with your most excellent suggestions. I shall henceforth regard them as my daily New York challenge. I daresay that I need only wait a while, and in a few decades from now, all may become clear.
Erik, there is evidence that the passage of time does not necessarily insure eventual understanding. What is immediately obvious is that we readily accept the evidence that confirms our beliefs and just as quickly reject equally valid evidence that negates them. Clarity in understanding is insured by the infinitely present moment in which one desires to consider all evidence as having equal validity

I have no knowledge of the quarters of which you write. Yet if they do exist, let it be known that appreciation for the benefits derived from my effortless silliness, may be expressed in any preferred form of support for the freedom of expression.
I will reward them, by directing my efforts toward those less demonstratively appreciative.

Erik_Kowal wrote:In the meantime, old son, may your god go with you when you moon.


Now what am I to make of that? Give me a moment. Ok…I’ll try to see your meaning. In other words, you mean to say:

For a few decades, you will wait patiently for mental clarity. Eventually you will begin to understand the meaning of what you are seeing illuminated by the reflected moon light cast upon the eldest sons' godly buttocks.

(Just kidding and kindly jesting.)
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