Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wisdom in Words

May I share a growing interest with you?
No, it's stronger than an interest, let's call it a fascination . . . a growing fascination with words.  Not words strung together as phrases and sentences to convey information, but individual words.

Words, as I see it, exist on two levels.  They live on the level of basic communication, they also live on the level of hidden truth.  We are constantly trading them as basic communication, but how often do we delve deeper and discover the seams of wisdom hidden below the surface.

To illustrate what I mean, let's take the word 'enthusiasm'.  We all know its meaning . . .   I'm demonstrating enthusiasm at the moment in wanting to share this subject with you.  But what gave birth to this word, and what is it telling us?

If we pull the word apart, and return to its Greek source, we find that embedded in its structure is the word 'theos', the Greek word for 'god'.  'Enthusiasm', it would appear, has a divine spark.  Little wonder that it bubbles with life and carries such potency.

To convince you further, let's look at another example.  There's the Latin root 'genere', meaning 'to create' or 'to give birth'.  Where do we find it?  Tucked away inside 'genius' and 'generate' and 'generous' - all words that are bursting with creativity and new life.

As a clinching argument, what is vital for new life to establish itself?  Wouldn't you agree that it must be breath?  Once again we find this concept embedded in our language.  The Latin root 'spirare', to breathe, has itself breathed life into 'inspire' and 'aspire'.  Who could deny the life force breathing through these two words - the vitality that empowers inspiration and aspiration.
As for the word 'vitality', this comes from the Latin 'vitalis', meaning 'life-giving'.  Yet more evidence of the original life-force still existing in our language.

Words, it would seem, were not merely coined to give objects a name or to enable us to express ourselves.  They are, in themselves, an embodiment of what they represent.  They vibrate with the frequency of their truth.

What has also struck me whilst writing this has been the power we are handling when using such words.  The dynamite, if you like, that we are unconsciously igniting.
In the beginning was the Word . . . and look what's transpired since then!

Perhaps that's my cue to draw this fascinating subject to a close.
Words are wise . . . words are  powerful.
If we'd aspire to their wisdom, perhaps we should handle them with more care?