A White Dwarf of Meaning

Words are memories. What we’ve forgotten, they still know. Consider the following: amazing, awesome, fabulous, fantastic, great, marvelous, terrific, wonderful. Today they may be synonyms, but each bespeaks a vanished form of experience, a lost feeling or idea. Awesome comes from awe: dread and veneration at the presence of the royal or divine. Terrific had to do with terror. Great referred to scale, to things beyond our puny human size: mountains, oceans, gods. Wonderful events evoked amazed admiration, and amazement itself denoted a kind of trance or spell. As for fabulous, fantastic, and marvelous, they pointed beyond the plane of quotidian existence, to realms of fable and fantasy and miracle–all real imaginative possibilities, once upon a time…

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Re-posted with permission.

Image: A Tree by Eileen Shahbazian

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