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Random Word Trails

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Hurray! I love random word trails!

OK, this trail began a long time ago. There's a group called Glimpse, and I first heard of them when suddenly all the ads in our local tube station became kittens.

So, I joined Glimpse (it's a great group of people I've never met), and the next project is about attention. Particularly, how to get our attention back from all the dings and beeps and notifications that continuously assail it. In the project brief, they sent a link to a fantastic TED talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who has done excellent research about the state of Flow, which I mentioned several times before.


In the TED talk, he mentions that the term ecstasy came from "standing outside of something", which made me curious. So I went to check it out. The word ecstasy has four meanings in the dictionary:

  1. A state of being beyond reason and self-control;

  2. A state of overwhelming emotions;

  3. A trance, or the state of being in a trance; and

  4. The drug (probably relating to definitions #1 and #3).

OK, but that's standing outside of something specific. Namely, yourself. But we don't call out-of-body experiences ecstasy. It's a very different thing.

The origin of the word ecstasy, it turns out, is ex (out of) + histanai (to stand). So, exhistanai. Which made me think about the word exist. The word exist, as it turns out, also comes from ex + histanai. So basically, existing is a kind of ecstasy.

By the way, the root of the word stand, from the Latin sistere, is sist. According to Merriam-Webster, other words that include this root are: assist (stand by someone), consist (to be made up of several things standing together), insist (to take a stand) and resist (also, interestingly, to take a stand). How cool is that?

OK, I'm going to watch the game with a bunch of drunk Brits. Hopefully, I'll be here tomorrow to tell the tale :)


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