""What's a word's worth?"
––Tom Tom Club
I’ve always had a curious affliction. I am under some sort of spell and I can’t stop learning new words. Quaesitum is the answer to a problem, I just now learned. But damn me if I ever try to use it.
Quaesitum: something sought or req
Like many such afflictions, not your fault you’ve got it but now you must do your best to manage with it or let it destroy your life. All communication choked out in an overgrown garden full of weedwords. The quaesitum is in learning to focus on the gifts the ‘affliction’ brings while building compensatory strategies for the rest. Without tending they’ll put an end to human-human verbal communication.
Now that I have all these weirdwords I am obliged, depending as I am on human communication, to tend them. Many should never be deployed, some only in the most dire of circumstances, where it is the only quaesitum.
I often think I’m spouting wisdom and later find out I’ve been spewing gibberish. O how ignorant these people are, if they only knew the words of the incantation they would get it. Then I’d get sprinkled with appreciation and the world’d wobble just a but more toward its right axis.
I have long observed that just one unfamiliar sesquipedalian word (that is, a long word, literally a foot and a half long) will put many people into some special dissociative state, looking like they're listening but a special kind of glaze to the eye tells me they are checked out. Unfamiliar words have to be added in carefully.
I had long ago learned to weaponize weirdwords. They functioned as an effective charm against big brother bullying. It can be hard to unlearn lessons learned so well and I now must guard against any inflection that suggests a person is some sort of knuckle-dragger for not knowing this word or that. Vocabulary should be a power play in very restricted circumstances. Find the balance between talking over heads or talking down to.
Quaesitum seems to me an unnecessary word. I will consign it to a cage and likely never let it out. It would be remarkable to use it even in a Scrabble game. But another rare word that showed up for me is nisus, and I think it may be a word to teach with.
I've added this Glossary entry:
Nisus is a word I have just discovered and not yet used. I think I will have special and very particular use for it.
It means, to attain an end: a mental or physical effort to attain an end : a perfective urge or endeavor. It can also be an impulse toward, a striving after a goal. It comes from Latin niti, to strive.
First found used in English it 1699, the word has a lot of interesting relationships like wink (nictitating membrane) and connive.
I don't think this word nisus had anything to do with Nisus of Greek mythology. He was a guy who had a purple lock of hair with magic power: if preserved, it would guarantee him life and continued possession of his kingdom. That's another story. It includes betrayal much like Delilah did her Samson. I like the color detail.
I am thinking I can use nisus to refer to the impulse or urge to move, the originating of movement. I just need to ponder how wise is it to introduce too many unfamiliar words.
I want to use it to refer to the urge or tendency to move, an early phase of biological movement. Is it Movement with intention added? By Movement upper case I mean the underlying, Heraclitean constant Movement of everything, going everywhere and nowhere. Movement undiscernable from Stillness.
A side-trip here, a strand that bends out in hopes it will weave its way back in. The word Heraclitean can be a stumble so a bit about what it means and why it was chosen,
It is easy to confuse Heraclitean with herculean. The latter is by far the more familiar because it attaches to exciting stories about famous Hercules (or Heracles) and his labors, tasks taking stupendous nisus to accomplish. The former was a Greek Philosopher so instantly boring to most sane people.
Heraclitus has been said to have been (by some of those who say such things) the first genuine philosopher. What we know of his work is from remnants of one papyrus scroll he wrote his only work. Some others of those who say such things he has been decried as an anti-intellectual obscurantist. His doctrine is usually boiled down to this: things are constantly changing (universal flux) and opposites coincide (unity of opposites). He also proclaimed fire to be the basic material of the world. Fire still works as a metaphor.
So when I refer above to a world whose base is Movement and that Movement is the same as Stillness I have come to conclusions that seem to agree with what we can understand of Heraclitus.
But there is more to mine here. Heraclitus was said to have delighted in wordplay. He was the James Joyce of 500 BC.
The vision is for Ongoingness; Life continuing on . . . .
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and, if I do not save it, I do not save myself. —JOSÉ ORTEGA Y GASSET
Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be––this is the interrelated structure of reality.
—MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Now, more than ever . . . our place in the universe and the place of the universe in us, is proving to be one of active relationship. That is more than a scientist's credo. The separateness of our lives is a sham. Physics, mathematics, music, painting, my love for you, my work, the star-dust of my body, the spirit that impels it, my politics, clocks diurnal, time perpetual, the roll, rough, tender, swamping, liberating, breathing, moving, thinking nature, human nature and the cosmos are patterned together.
—JEANETTE WINTERSON Gut Symmetries
What you do, what you become, is not my concern. –ROBERT MCCALL