Word of the Year – More Like Word of the Century

Dictionary.com has seen the future. They picked their word of the year for 2011, but it should really be our word for the next 100 years.

“Tergiversate” means to quickly and rapidly change your loyalties and affiliations.

The signs are all around that people easily tergiversate from one idea, movement, or group to the next.

In ancient Ireland, mythology and folklore says shapeshifters also had this ability.

Shapeshifters were usually humans who possessed great magic or potions. They could become, at will, anything they wished. For instance, a shapeshifter could be a person one minute, then a winged bat, then a wolf, then back to a person. The shapeshifter would tergiversate between one permutation and another.

To tergiversate is a quite different notion than that of Protean man. Protean man takes his name from the ancient Greek Proteus, an early god of the sea. Proteus could change his appearance at will to suit himself, usually to avoid work or capture.

Protean man likely believes there are reasons behind his changes. That he is altering himself for a reason. That there is an underlying direction.

An example of a modern-day Protean man would be a college professor who decides to quit his job and live off the grid for 10 years. He then wants to become and author and begins writing books. And in his old age he is a devout volunteer and evangelizer of a local nonprofit.

Proteus, early Greek god of the sea. Son of Poseidon.

Which of these were the authentic self? It could be argued that they all were authentic. That’s the dilemma faced by Protean man.

In todays’ world, a person who quickly and easily tergiversates between movements likely will not believe or espouse one more than another. These notions of social justice, morality, freedom, etc. will come quickly, and will be adopted just as fast. Not because they are right, but because they are the new thing.

You can quickly turn to a modern social media page. See what your friends are posting. What is the cause du jour of the day? How deeply do they believe? Is it a lifelong devotion, or just the new coolest thing for the moment?

If people could ask themselves if these rapidly-coming movements will truly matter in a decade, we could at least keep our tergiversations to a minimum.

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About Blog Boss

Jim MacKenzie and Sarah Giavedoni are the creators of the blogs Stuff Monsters Like, the Incredible Vanishing Paperweight, and more. When they are not blogging, they are devoted to managing the Asheville Blogger Society, watching movies, running a completely unrelated nonprofit, and making money at their paid employment.
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3 Responses to Word of the Year – More Like Word of the Century

  1. Pingback: 2012 ~ I CHOOSE to DANCE for JOY…What do you choose for 2012? « Wrestling the Muse

  2. Pingback: Bob is Protected by a Wolf Spirit | Whose Time is it?

  3. Pingback: 2012 ~ I CHOOSE to DANCE for JOY…What do you choose for 2012? | Kim Koning

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