Monday, May 3, 2010

A scholarly look at the word scholar

Jan Cox said once that you cannot use a word correctly if you do not know its etymology. The example he used was the word "cakewalk." Learning about the Indo-European root of words like scholar, and hectic, gave me a glance of the connection between---scholar and hectic. The root of both 'scholar' and 'hectic' is the same indo-european word : "segh",  translated as "to hold." 

What I am today calling the monkey mind, which may be a eastern phrase itself, is the verbalizing aspect of the mechanical mind, generally assumed by modern scholars to be the most important function of the mind of man. What this monkey mind does, is hold--hang on to-- words, --- if it did not "hold" words, the monkey mind would glimpse something beyond itself.  If the monkey mind did not hold words, the words could become, transparent. So, for self preservation, and other reasons, this grasping of words is necessary and because of its necessity, is also hectic. 

The scholar must verbalize, (hold words) and must, doing so, at the very best, ignore other aspects of mind. This multiplicity of functions is one reason the scholar's monkey mind, is also---a hectic mind. The scholars mind must stay  full of words, while juggling various functions. Easy to see why scholars need words (as long as you don't immediately associate scholar with knowing something). The hectic comes too from the nature of words; words are pushy, loud, bumptious, with garish ties, --a fair description of words qua words. And this is all before you notice any connotative features. Hectic is a good word for ---words. 

This exposition acts like the the functioning of the monkey mind is difficult---that would be a misleading effect.  Our monkey mind is the default on the planet, the default for grown ups.