I like words – I like the way they look, and sound, and most of all I enjoy their meanings and derivations.

Johnson O’Connor thinks that I have excellent – well, “high, ” they don’t use judgmental words like “excellent” – vocabulary, and that I should be writing, or using my linguistic capacities in some way.  Since taking their test more than three years ago, I’ve been inspired to make a note of every word I encounter whose exact meaning I don’t know.  That’s it – I write down the word, and then continue with my reading, possibly completely missing the point of the text before me.  (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in particular, uses vocabulary quite above me – and that’s just in translation.  The Spanish must be quite scary.)

Now that I’ve discovered the fabulous Mental Case app for my iPhone, I’ve typed my hundreds of words into a spreadsheet, and have begun the long process of looking up and entering definitions.  Some of these words are so great! Heterodox, for instance – a sentiment so close to my heart.  And I realize I’ve often heard it used in the context of renegade priests in the Catholic church – I’m doubly embarrassed to admit my ignorance.  But now that I know what it means, I can use it in public all the time.  And I just did!  Not only in the title of this post, I mean.

I have another word for you:  salient. Yeah, I know we see it all the time, but what exactly does it mean?  Write down what you think, and then look it up.  You might be surprised.


2 Responses to “Heterodoxy”

  1. ccd Says:

    Do you enjoy challenging orthodox schools of thought, or would you happily join the orthodoxy if the world evolved to your way of thinking?

    It’s fascinating to look at the assumptions and values conveyed through different economic systems. Can there really be a true definition of “rational” behavior for all?

    • knightstango Says:

      @ccd: Good point. For me it’s about trying to find the truth and do the right thing, not about being different for the sake of being contrary.

      I think the main lesson of behavioral economics is that humans are (1) irrational in (2) quite predictable ways, and that (3) this irrationality creates opportunity. I’ll report on my continued investigations.

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