Friday, March 10, 2017

trump is a disaster. Blame our stars?

When people meet with me for the first time (which often turns out to be last time too!) many ask me about this life of mine where my work and home are a 100 kilometers apart.  One hundred kilometers sounds way farther than 65 miles, or  frighteningly more than an hour of commute time, right?  After all, people in many parts of the world have commute times of an hour or two.  So, if I said a commute time of more than an hour, well, it makes no impact for all purposes.  But, 100 kilometers each way?

If I hadn't made those choices to work where I work and live where I live, then I won't be doing what I am doing, and neither will you.  If things hadn't happened the way they did, then we won't be where we are.  All I am saying is that if you or I had taken even one different turn in one of those many forks in the road of life, the outcomes would have been very, very, very different.

Now, I don't mean this the same way as the belief in "fate" in the old country.  After all, it is not one's "fate" to be a manual scavenger, right?  It doesn't mean that it is all in the stars.

So, what does this have to do with "trump" in the title of this post?

trump is a disaster.  A disaster to this country, and to the world.  The connection here is the word "disaster."

I have a limited vocabulary.  And even the few words that I use, I have no idea where those words are from.  I mean, it took me a long time to even understand the difference between etymology and entomology!  So, it is no surprise to me that I had no idea about the origin of the word "disaster."

The friend and I attended a talk at the local university, which every once in a while offers something for the brain, in contrast to entertaining the community with football and basketball as if ballgames were the reasons why we have universities!  The talk was by Dr. Lucy Jones, on  “The Fault Lies Not in Our Stars: Why Natural Disasters Become Human Catastrophes.”

It was a fascinating lecture to listen to.  And during that tour de force lecture that provided wonderful historical insights, Jones explained why the title of her lecture referred to the "stars" and "disasters."  Now, maybe you already knew what is coming here, but I was simply floored.  The idiot that I am, I had no idea about the origin of the word disaster: "dis" referring to the negation, something bad, something wrong; and the other part of the word from "astro" for stars.  I.e., the unfortunate, horrible events were "ill-starred."

And, yes, if I hadn't made my home in Eugene, I would not have gone to the talk, and would not have known how much the disaster of this presidency is related to the stars ;)


Ramesh said...

At last there is one word I knew about which you didn't !! Comes from listening a lot to Neal Degrasse Tyson !

Everything is a game of chance isn't it. Even the creation of the sun, the solar system, life on earth, evolution of man, everything ..... In the cosmic scheme of things, the current "issue" may not be all that significant.

Go out and look in the night sky , my friend. OUCH ! I forgot you live in a place that if you look up, you'll only get a raindrop inside your eye :)

Sriram Khé said...

Ahem ... while you and I agree that even the stars and us are a result of a game of chance, we have plenty of Republicans who believe that there is a god who created all these just about 6,000 years ago. They voted for this disaster!

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