Jared Witt l March 8, 2018
Anthony de Mello (1931-1987) was an Indian Jesuit priest, who became well known for writing pithy parables and koans, which drew from his deep engagement with both eastern and western spiritual traditions.
One of my favorites is this:
“After many years of labor an inventor discovered the art of making fire. He took his tools to the snow-clad northern regions and initiated a tribe into the art—and the advantages—of making fire. The people became so absorbed in this novelty that it did not occur to them to thank the inventor, who one day quietly slipped away. Being one of those rare human beings…he had no desire to be remembered or revered; all he sought was the satisfaction of knowing that someone had benefited from his discovery.
Once again our nation witnessed the brutal violence that black Americans face daily. Once again we are witnessing a polarized debate where people are taking sides: Police vs. Black Lives. Once again we see the visible signs of a community that is victimized, suffering, and in pain. Once again we are a faced with a sad truth: this will not be the last time. I am sickened because THIS time I have a broken heart.
Every successful public speaker, songwriter, or politician knows that the definition of a word is rarely as important as it’s connotations.
So if I say “restructuring,” the oxford definition of that word is unlikely to excite much of an emotional response in you. But if you or someone you love has recently been laid off from a job, you may find yourself emotionally lashing out at this term with a fury that would otherwise seem uncalled for.
Connotations are not the things that a word directly points to but are rather all those other images loosely floating around that word’s gravitational field. They’re the interactions and experiences that
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