I enjoy writing. More than I ever thought that I would or would ever be capable of. In my schooldays I would struggle to put together even a one page essay. Thoughts on subjects that I had little or no interest in, just would not flow. Now, when a subject of interest comes to me, I can find so much to say that it is difficult to limit the thoughts and put them in some sort of meaningful order. Thinking about that, I suppose nothing much has changed because I only tend to write (or read, or talk, for that matter) about things that are personally interesting.
Words have always been of importance to me but I think that it was the requirement during the latter part of my working life that I produce technical manuals, user manuals and the like, to describe computer systems that I was working on that brought home to me the need for and importance of carefully structured and appropriately worded text. I think that was when I began to see that I had some sort of flair, in a small way, for writing.
The world of blogging has opened up for me a whole new sphere of expression and I feel some confidence (not overwhelming confidence) that I am able to put together entertaining and cogent ideas. From time to time I look back over my efforts and realise that they do not always adequately convey the intentional ideas that I was trying to put forward even though I tend to agonise at length over their presentation before pressing the Publish or Post button on my computer.
I was doing this late last night and suddenly realised with some dismay and not a little embarrassment that I have been using a word incorrectly on a number of occasions without giving it any (or sufficient) serious thought.
English is a marvellous language, constructed in times ancient and modern from many local and other sources through invasion of the British Isles and various other cultural mixes. It contains words which are similarly spelt but have quite different meanings depending only on context. It also contains words that are not spelled in the same way, being from different roots, but are pronounced in precisely similar ways.
The two words that fall under the latter description and which I have been guilty of inadvertently misusing are: incite and insight.
Incite is a verb with the meaning of to move to action, stir up or urge on, while insight is a noun meaning the clear or deep perception of a situation. I tend to use the adverbial ‘inciteful’ when what I really mean is the adjectival ‘insightful’. My use of the word inciteful in several of my posts conveys valid meaning but not necessarily the intended one.
Anyway, after tossing these ideas over in my head through a restless night’s sleep, I decided to clear the air by ‘fessing up in this little piece. Hopefully that will be the end of it.
I suppose that not many people will have even noticed my previous blunders. Mostly because not that many folk read my work but also, more sadly, because not many people would care or even recognise the possibility of there having been an error made or perhaps a non-intentional duplicity of meaning.
Speech, writing, even words themselves, are among the greatest achievements of human beings during their development on this planet. The fact that our use of language today is slipping into an incoherent, sloppy, shorthand, limited subset of what was once a magnificent edifice to our crowning achievement, is just one more example of how our civilisation is rolling steadily downhill to eventual oblivion where in just a few short generations we will revert to little more than grunting apes living in caves and with no memory of our glorious past. And the cycle of life will continue on.
Now that’s insight.