A word that dances with itself, weaving reflected s‘s and i‘s like a house of mirrors. Its object is an existential solecism that takes solace in a schism with existence – or, if not solace, then at least soleness. The form of the word can be seen to reflect that, though not without other overtones. It starts with sol, which could be the sun, but in this system the sun that all revolves around is the solus ipse, no one but the single self. And so the only one my lips will touch is me, for all others are but figments. The snaky s slithers its way through a trinity of times with never a z to face it, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, but this one is saying “the tree is in your mind, and so is that other person, and the garden, and, by the way, so am I.” In the beginning there is nothing, o, and then i comes, and after that – well, it’s i again, and none other. All beyond mirrors the sole I with the mere psittacism of the schizoid psyche. This term emerged from philosophy, suitably enough, for it takes a philosophical bent to think oneself into such a Spiegelhaus. My first-year university philosophy professor told us he had once known a solipsist. Ironically, he added, “He committed suicide.” And yet here we all are (assuming you’re there, and assuming I’m here). And, in the end, this word, too.
Songs of Love and Grammar
Word Tasting Notes Google groupGet just the word tasting notes daily by email – join the Google Word Tasting Notes group.
I speak, too!I am available to do presentations on language and editing, and I can even lead a word tasting session for your group. For more information, contact me at an email address which is my first name (James) at my last name (Harbeck) followed by a period and the letters ca. (The preceding roundabout expression is for avoiding address harvesters for unwanted emails.)
- When intransitives go transitive
- cymotrichous, leiotrichous, ulotrichous
- Hello, LA, this is your future talking
- antanaclasis, polyptoton
- The sounds of historical English
- The sound of 2050
- An article title, “An article title ‘An article title needs commas’ needs commas,” needs commas