Sunday, June 2, 2013

On Doing Something

June 1, 2013


    I just returned from the annual Justice Studies Association meeting at Arcadia University greatly stimulated.  When I got home last evening Jill asked how the meeting went.  I said and felt great about being there, and yet felt at a loss for words.  After supper and beginning to unwind, I told her how I could begin to feel a release of all the concentrated flow of group energy I had just experienced.  I told her I was worn out by what I recognize as entropy, my body heating up just focusing on moments in mutually, personally important conversations.  The entropy lay in my containing myself enough to listen and engage, to convert that input into the honestly most important response I could find in myself to give to it.  It was draining, and I wasn't the only one to say so.  Now I could open the doors, sit in my favorite chair, and feel and hear the southeasterly wind along the jet stream flow through the evergreen branches, and literally recharge my batteries incarnate,

    This morning I listened to Humankind and On Being on npr as I ate breakfast after my morning walk in the quiet of dawn.  As I listened, I remembered conversations I had had, repeating what kept going through my head at jsa: it's all a matter of translation, a matter of what the words that mean most to us mean to others--that's where all the disagreements among us, overtly and covertly especially, seem to lie.

    Long story short.  I came to the point after sitting awhile on the patio getting reacquainted with mama cardinal of deciding to google the two most basic units of grammar every student of languages learns: Words we decline (nouns and their modifiers) and words we conjugate (verbs and their modifiers).  My mama taught me that Latin was fundamental to understanding the roots of meaning in words, which I used almost by reflex as I became a "champion" speller.  So I looked up the Latin roots of decline and conjugate.

    As to nouns and their kin:  Declined literally breakes down to "unbent."  (Check it out if you don't believe me.)

    /As to verbs and their kin:  Conjugated literally means "joined head and heart."

All that stuff I've been trying for so many years to put into words, culminating in a recent comment on a listserv that present participles can be changed, nouns cannot, about it being the process, not the subject or object, that's the problem and the remedy, boils down to what the first folks to translate Latin into English to teach each other how to translate texts accurately saw the world this way:

     From earliest attempts that English speakers made to control history, by introducing the "counter roll" (origin of the word "control"), they divided words into 2 categories:

     When we try to control having our minds become heartless or our hearts become mindless (same difference really) by turning ourselves into perfectly conforming, efficient, effective and so forth nouns (statuses, classes, worthy souls, whatever), the ties that have bound and brought us together are further unbent, and thus broken as our bodies would be if our backs were straightened out.  That's not a metaphor, it's a fact.  We can never correct the places human relations are stuck in opposition by trying to straighten one another around or force others to see things "the right way."  Those monks sitting away trying to translate "sacred" Latin documents into English knew already what we humans still have the hardest time knowing.   Love and peace--hal

1 comment:

  1. Hal & Friends. I keep trying to register a comment but system stops me so I will try as a anonymous entry. (I am a longtime friend of Hal's from outside Bloomington IN)
    I just returned from the Indiana Statehouse where they had a re-dedication ceremony for Colonel Richard Owen who was the commandant of the Civil War POW Camp Morton in Indianapolis. How rare! Former confederate POW's raised money after the war to honor their commandant for how fair he treated the confederate prisoners. We went from a Civil War POW commandant being praised after the Civil War to the horrors of Abu Gharaib in Iraq. I will begin my second book on military/law enforcement with the story of Col Owen. Sam Luckey