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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

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I just couldn't play along

As much as I wanted to, I just couldn't bring myself to contribute a comment to a well intentioned post. You see, I am often irked by the misuse of language. The request was to "use three words to describe their philosophy." Seems relatively simple, but philosophy literal means "love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means." Though to accommodate connotation (i.e. secondary meaning) the word has also come to mean "a system of values by which one lives." Still, to use three words to describe one's love and pursuit of wisdom is quite a heady request. I suspect the writer meant to express three words that characterize lifestyle choices. For example, if I were to suggest that my philosophy of life is to eat well, live well and do good deeds that may sound well. But it is not philosophy. It is, however, a lifestyle strategy--even a personal precept. Ah, but you see, if I were to say that my life's precept is to eat well, live well and do good deeds, you might think I am delivering a lifestyle doctrine. And that won't do because doctrine has an emotional connotation that is not positive to most readers. So, I just can't play along, because in our post-literate culture readers attribute emotional gravity to words rather than pursue truth by intellectual means.

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