Daily Archives: June 3, 2013

A Dictionary Soapbox

Today’s post is a mix of definitions from Merriam-Webster Online, and miscellaneous brief opinions about them. A better post might include a thorough description of the recent events leading up to this collection of thoughts — such a post might be more interesting for readers — but I’m not interested in revelation here. Crazy statement, perhaps, from someone putting his mind on display for the world to read.

Dichotomy: something with seemingly contradictory qualities <it’s a dichotomy, this opulent Ritz-style luxury in a place that fronts on a boat harbor — Jean T. Barrett>

“Dichotomy” came to mind after the brouhaha over a review someone posted, acknowledging another writer’s creativity without necessarily enjoying its application.

Similar conflicts have arisen in the past when I’ve expressed admiration for someone’s commitment to a cause even though I thought the cause itself ludicrous, the person misguided, and the methods wrong.

It happens. People disagree. And that’s okay.

1: capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina

2a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own
2b : the act of allowing something : toleration

3: the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece
full definition

I disagree with the “sympathy or indulgence” part of that definition. Smacks of opinion or agenda.

Often, tolerance is not a two-way street. Tolerance may be living alongside people with different lifestyles, but it is not blindly accepting everyone and everything that comes our way — that would be irresponsible and unintelligent. Wisdom involves discernment, discretion, decision. Not everything is good for us in the long run, even if it solves a short-term problem. Our sense of urgency doesn’t translate into someone else’s emergency. Saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else. That’s life.

Giving an honest, courteous opinion, yet receiving venom and accusation in return from one who preaches tolerance? Ironic.

Language device in which the real intent is concealed or contradicted by the literal meaning of words or a situation. Verbal irony, either spoken or written, arises from an awareness of contrast between what is and what ought to be. Dramatic irony, an incongruity in a theatrical work between what is expected and what occurs, depends on the structure of a play rather than its use of words, and it is often created by the audience’s awareness of a fate in store for the characters that they themselves do not suspect.
full definition

What about being professional while still being casual and approachable? I was knocked back a few steps when a colleague who’d been friend-like in the past became a mass of buttoned-down, by-the-book aggression. Not sure where we stand now: still colleagues, are we friends or enemies? More importantly, I’m not inclined to work with this person in the future.

But I’m a grownup. I can deal.

If every circumstance turned out the way we thought we wanted, there’d be chaos. Everyone’s wishes can’t be granted. Just as there is harmony in nature, there is conflict. An animal dies so another can live. One season gives way to the next. The storm blows because it must, and destruction follows, because frailty cannot stand against its force. Two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time — physical impossibility, because one must displace the other. One guy gets the girl, and the other patches up a broken heart.

1: the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work
2: the outcome of a complex sequence of events
French dénouement, literally, untying, from Middle French desnouement, from desnouer to untie, from Old French desnoer, from des- de- + noer to tie, from Latin nodare, from nodus knot
full definition

Who can tell how the knotty rope of life untangles, or if it ever will? I can only hope that, by the end, my life was a story worth reading.


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