EmPulse for Week of November 8, 2010
“He seemed a stately elderly man, 60ish.:” “The time? Oh, 2:30ish.” “No, we’re not together anymore. Really—I’m kind of single…ish.” “At his first day on the job he wore a suit that was quite stylish…, but not exactly.”
Isn’t it funny that we seem to have grown comfortable with a lack of precision in our common everyday exchanges?!? We certainly wouldn’t stand for that in the airline industry—“The plane is now refitted and basically safe(ish) for travel.” Auto safety is another area where we would not stand for –ish standards. Nuclear physicists, heart surgeons, architects, and astronauts are among some other people who would not base their work on –ish criterion. And the train system in the UK!?! There is no such thing as late, let alone late-ish : yet some of us settle for a lack of specificity in our lives and relationships with others. Why is that?
Too much work? Lazy? Mental down time?
Not important enough? Safer? Muddles definitions?
This –ishness has also come to permeate our critical thinking. Precision in thought, in formulating ideas, in constructing a philosophy of life (weltanschauung) seems more like a photograph of London in a deep midnight fog. Or is that morning fog in LA? Too many of us are content with never implementing an idea, resolving a relationship, or finishing a thought-sequence. It’s just too much work. Thus, over time, we become less(ish) by default.
–ish now runs through every area of our culture— kinda-for-saleish, judgmentalish, sexually activeish, business savyish, politically cooperativeish. The suffix isn’t actually there, but it is implied. Even in defining our relationship with the God who made us, there is an –ishness to our description. We redefine how we want to relate to God in our terms rather, properly, on His terms. Since when did we set the perimeters and definers of how God Almighty is allowed to relate to the human race?!? This seems more than a sprinkling of arrogance of the dictum- man is the measure of all things. [Protagoras, pre-Socratic agnostic (490-420 bce)].
There is something to be said for tighter precision in our critical thinking, life philosophies, religious faith, business ethic, and personal moral choices, let alone in our airplanes and autos.
Hope you have a nice(ish) week.