Monday, June 30, 2008
BOM coming up . . .
I just remembered--I'm supposed to be doing a Book of the month as of tomorrow. Any suggestions? I'm blank!
And a P.S. to today's earlier post about words. I heard this wonderful quote once, but I've no idea if Confucius really said it: Confucius advised that if we hoped to repair what was wrong in the world, we had best start with the "rectification of the names." The corruption of society begins with the failure to call things by their proper names, he maintained, and its renovation begins with the reattachment of words to real things and precise concepts.
While words are harmless symbols, they carry the power of the things they represent. All words are clothed in connotations quite apart from their literal meaning. That is why abortionists speak of the "fetus" instead of the "baby," and why "fundamentalist" has come to mean "crazed, bomb-bearing vigilante" instead of "one who believes in the fundamentals of the faith."
As you've reminded me in your comments below, words ARE powerful--which is another reason to use them carefully. And, whenever necessary, to remind people of the actual meaning of the word. I'm all for reminding people of actual things and precise concepts, but it takes a bit of effort . . .