Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Escaping with Books ~ or ~ Escaping into Books

Dichotomy Welcome to the ongoing Conversation

The alternative in the title of this post may not seem as dichotomous as some would demand; but it’s subtle for a reason…

And because a tactic I used yesterday seemed well-received, I’ll share the etymology of dichotomy:

c. 1600, from Greek dichotomia “a cutting in half,” from dicha “in two, asunder” (related to dis“twice,” from PIE root *dwo- “two”) + temnein “to cut” (from PIE root *tem- “to cut”).

And, here’s the definition from the OED:

A division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different

Which brings up the question of whether cutting something in half actually creates two oppositional things…

What if the original is not made of two distinct patterns or has an only gradually changing pattern?

And, even though yesterday’s post wasn’t an “official” part of our Monday/Wednesday Conversation, I’m moved to quote this excerpt:

“Did you know that the makers of dictionaries put words and their definitions in their books when they show a marked usage by the “educated” public….Sure, someone can bring up the argument that language responds to culture and changes with the times…”

So, yes, it appears dichotomy has had its meaning altered over time; but, does that mean the lexicographical police will hound us if we use the original meaning?

Still, folks who are immersed in the current culture may misunderstand…

So, my secondary purpose in this post is to attempt to “model” a non-cultural use of words…

And, perhaps, if I’m not part of the “‘educated’ public”, I don’t have to care a whit…

I realize I’m bending a lot of usage and meaning conventions in this post (and, perhaps, using way too many “s); but, if you were nearly 72 and had been bashed continually by a culture that seems bent on turning its communications into false shadows of purposeful meaning, you, too, might “contort” what is considered “politically correct”…

God forbid we should attempt to maintain a working respect for language, eh?

So… mini-rant finished.

There was a comment on Monday’s post that said:

“Well I like the idea of reading another book, but perhaps it is easier to pick up a new book than a new life? I used to use books as an escape when I was a child. I think I actually wanted a new life….”

which was responding to something I’d said in that post:

…a book we don’t like can be put down and a life course can be abandoned…Perhaps, the best advice, at times, is to find a book you like better—re-write your future with fresh plans…



We’re back to the “dichotomy” of the title:

Escaping with Books ~ or ~ Escaping into Books

Anyone care to give what they think the difference in that dichotomy is according to it’s etymology rather than it’s current definition?

I have a bunch of gold stars for anyone brave enough to continue the conversation in the comments :-)
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3 responses to “Escaping with Books ~ or ~ Escaping into Books

  1. Jane Watson February 22, 2018 at 7:37 am

    In the title of this blog the first intransitive use of the verb ’escaping’ means the narrator is escaping from some unnamed threat and is taking the books with them. The second use of the verb ‘escaping’ is transitive so the books then become the object of the sentence and the narrator is actually going into the books to escape from the horrors of the world? Feel free to argue with me. I just felt my brain implode, rofl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alexander M Zoltai February 22, 2018 at 7:42 am

      First, I have to humbly thank you for, once again, saving me from having a conversation with myself…

      Then, I must praise you for such a succinct analysis of the issue at hand—I will have to think hard to come up with others interpretations; but, I will certainly raise your interpretation higher than mine…


      Is anyone else brave enough to comment………?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: An Evolving Blog-Conversation . . . | Notes from An Alien

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