Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week in Seven Words #39

bullion
Golden bars of sunlight on deep green grass.

cachinnate
When I learn with her, and we're sitting with our books in front of us, we tend to laugh, sometimes a lot. It seems that the laughter is what I remember the most afterwards.

groundwork
Infants are often thought of as amoral; they might squirm, smile, cry, babble, explore, but making a judgment about another person's actions might seem to be beyond their capacities. As it turns out, there's evidence that infants younger than a year do show preferences for people (and characters) who are helpful and kind to another person over those who hinder and thwart; from what I recall they also prefer people who remain neutrally uninvolved to those who actively undermine another person's efforts (and prefer those who actively help to those who remain uninvolved). Rudiments of morality, good deeds and a sense of justice are there, even before they can speak.

regard
He speaks quite eloquently about love. Not love in the sense of falling head over heels, or getting swept away, or any other conception of love that involves losing one's mind or will to passions that are beyond personal control. He speaks about love as a choice and commitment, as something that deepens and grows throughout life, that glows inside of a healthy self and spreads outwards in ever-widening circles.

stalwart
A son of one of the Bielsky brothers talks about his father's and uncles' experiences leading a Jewish partisan group against Nazis and Nazi collaborators in Eastern Europe and saving over 1200 Jews (young, old, healthy, sick, men, women, and children). Several thoughts come out of the talk - the human spirit and human courage are amazing; heroes are flesh-and-blood imperfect people; and what's it like to live with this family legacy, to be the son and nephew of people who did things like that? (From this speaker I sense deep pride but also, especially when he was younger, a need to prove that he too has guts and can live up to the family name.)

unmotivated
Friday afternoon. People's primary concern seems to be whether there's any coffee or cookies left.

waxy
Yellow leaves on slicked pavement.

6 comments:

patteran said...

Thanks for 'cachinnate', which is new to me!

groundwork.
Isn't that discovery fascinating? I resist still the belief that behaviour can be genetically determined. But - as with my religious unbelief - I have no explanation for certain mysteries.

stalwart.
It occurred to me the other day that, in spite of fears that the significance of the Holocaust will diminish with the passing of the last survivors, its immediacy will retain an intensity through the received accounts of sons and daughters for many years to come. And a survivor 5-years-old in 1945 may still retain vivid recollection 25 years from now.

naida said...

I like 'regard'. That is the lasting kind of love.
And I can relate to 'unmotivated' on a friday afternoon at work...lol.

http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

HKatz said...

Thanks for 'cachinnate', which is new to me!
It's got a mischievous sound to it too :)

I resist still the belief that behaviour can be genetically determined.
To some extent it is, yes ('genetically determined' is such a loaded phrase); but we're born with some things - structures, cognitive capacities, etc. - in place. Experience, culture, nurturing etc. still play hugely important roles though. These days it's not so much a nature vs. nurture debate, but a study of the interaction of the two.

And a survivor 5-years-old in 1945 may still retain vivid recollection 25 years from now.
True and insightful. And yes, those tales told either first-hand by survivors or handed down to children and grandchildren are so powerful and enduring.

I like 'regard'. That is the lasting kind of love.
Yes it is. A beautiful love.

Thank you both for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

Relyn said...

Oh man! The computer ate my comment before!

Anyway. Your unmotivated was perfect. Unfortunately, I know many people who fit this description, too. And stalwart. I bet that was a fascinating talk. You brought up something very interesting that I'd never considered before. I had never thought of how hard it would be to live up to family members like that. Wow.

John Hayes said...

Beautiful imagery in "bullion" & "waxy," & great psychology in "regard" & "stalwart." As far as "groundwork" goes, I've read somewhere recently that animals also exhibit some of these same kinds of moral judgments--for instance, dogs tend to shun humans if they see them treating other dogs unfairly (not "meanly," but rather, unequitably.) "cachinate" is a wonderful word--& image too!

HKatz said...

I had never thought of how hard it would be to live up to family members like that. Wow.
I'm glad you liked that insight; it wasn't something he said explicitly but it came out, especially in some moments when he talked about himself growing up.

I've read somewhere recently that animals also exhibit some of these same kinds of moral judgments--for instance, dogs tend to shun humans if they see them treating other dogs unfairly
Interesting - I'm going to look that up. And I'm glad you enjoyed the other words too.

Thanks for commenting.