Skip to main content

The Dunce's Tale

In an email to my boss earlier today, I labeled myself a dunce, in reference to a particularly silly suggestion I had made the previous day. It got me thinking about the word "dunce", and its origins. My basic knowledge of Latin and Greek weren't getting me far, so I started on a journey to determine the origins of this word.

As a start, I headed over to dictionary.com:
"After Duns Scotus, John whose writings and philosophy were ridiculed in the 16th century."
Hmmm... not really clear at this point. Off to Wikipedia! Upon reading Wikipedia's explanation of the word, it occurred to me that dictionary.com's wording and boldface highlighting were both unclear (looking at it now, I'm not sure why I didn't grasp it). According to Wikipedia, John Duns Scotus was a thirteenth and fourteenth-century (he died in 1308) philosopher and theologian. Followers of Duns Scotus were referred to as "Duns" or "Dunsman" by his opponents, and refused to accept new ideas and new ways of thinking that came about in the sixteenth century. Today, according to Wikipedia, the word "dunce" refers to a person who is incapable of learning. Dictionary.com defines it as a stupid person or a dolt.

How about that? I'm willing and able to learn, and am fairly intelligent on most days. It sounds like I may not be a dunce, nor even a fuckhead. What a great start to a Friday!

Comments

  1. I did not know that.
    When I pull up Wikipedia and put in the search term "fuckhead", I get this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuckhead
    Duh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I came across the fuckhead entry on dictionary.com because it was listed in with the synonyms for the word. I couldn't resist linking to it :-)

    Interesting note about Wikipedia: they are a tax exempt organization, so if you want to donate to them, your donation is tax-deductible!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Unmasking My Mask Problem

I like to think of myself as a caring person, and attempt to behave compassionately towards others. Sometimes I fall short in that effort, but failing is what humans do, and successful humans learn from failure. I'd like to discuss what I believe is one of my more recent failures, and what I've come to learn about what's behind it. When the masking guidance and mandates first dropped, it short-circuited me. I reacted in disbelief, anger, and refusal to enter places that required masks. Masking was a simple act that was both scientifically and morally justified. I wondered if I really was a decent person, or if this reflexive pushback was just uncovering undiagnosed sociopathic tendencies. I started to wonder if my outward behaviors of positivity and kindness were just facades that I'd constructed around a dark psyche. Given the rhetoric surrounding mask-wearing, which can — as far as I understand — be reduced to “you're a monster if you don't do this,” it was ha

Meditation

At the end of 2019, I began casually practicing mindfulness meditation. Just over a year later, it's become a nearly essential part of my routine; it provides me an off-ramp to ease back into my personal life after an eight-hour (often longer) workday. Some folks have expressed interest in hearing more about this routine, so I thought it would be helpful to chronicle my experiences: the good, the bad, and the frustrating. Buddhism has been an interest of mine for several years now, and I have a particular affinity for the simplicity of Zen Buddhism. It strips away a lot of the religious/spiritual elements more common in forms of Buddhism found in Tibet, for example. I sometimes use the term Zen meditation , when it is probably more accurate to refer to it as mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation focuses on being aware and present for each passing moment. Contrary to popular belief, it's not about emptying the mind or teleporting to some sort of astral plane. It's

Insurrection

The criminals who invaded the capital on January 6th, 2021 are not patriots. There is nothing noble or heroic about violently storming the capitol building and disrupting a legal proceeding that is outlined in the constitution of the United States . Those who took part in — or even endorsed — such actions are seditious goons with an axe to grind because the election results didn't favor them. The events yesterday were a culmination of unhinged ramblings and lies from the occupant of the White House, and years of disinformation emanating from the dark recesses of the web. Finally, there is simply no room for whataboutism here. The events of the summer do not hold a candle to the actual sedition that we witnessed yesterday. The demonstrations — and yes, violence — from this summer were to protest hundreds of years of oppression and marginalization of Black people. To equate those protests to yesterday's domestic terrorism is fallacious and ignorant.