Monday, July 26, 2010

getting down to business

Today, while reading a bulletin board on the BBC, I ran into a word that sent me to the dictionary. That was kind of fun. "Deontology" -- the the theory or study of moral obligation ... and not, as I had flash-guessed half-humorously, some advanced and more expensive version of dentistry.

When I was a teenager, my father would occasionally challenge me to spell long words I had never heard of. "Phthisis" comes to mind. They weren't words anyone was likely to use, but it had a kind of stratospheric feel to it ... fancy words in your own language that no one was ever likely to hear again. It had a superior feel to it.

The theory or study of moral obligation ....

Of what use are theory and study? Well, besides showing off unnecessarily, the only use I can think of is to put theory and study to the test. There's probably a long word for that too, but doesn't it all boil down to ...

Put up or shut up?

I don't intend the question in some dismissive, don't-be-an-academic-asshole sense. I mean it literally. Who doesn't have theories and studies running around in the mind? So ... doesn't there come a time when there needs to be a willingness to dive in, to make mistakes, and to find out if something is true or not? Can long-longer-longest words burnish that experience?

1 comment:

  1. sorry to do it a singaporean way...

    muack muack, hugs and loves gengaku. missing u. slurp.