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THE ETYMOLOGY OF FEAR

June 17th, 2018

This episode references episode 57 entitled Compass.  If you’d like to fully understand the reference, please listen to that episode first.

 

 

 

 

Words are like people, in that they have parents and grandparents and great grandparents. . . and so on and so forth.

 

An easy example is ‘blog’.  It originally came from web-log

 

Apparently two syllables was too many and we just had to shorten it to the truly unfortunate and sebaceous sounding blog.

 

 

 

The parents of the word fear are predictable: things like ‘taunt’ and ‘danger’, stuff like that.

 

But.

 

If you go far enough back.

 

 

 

All the way back to the Proto-Indo-european root . . . ?

 

The word ‘fear’ is simply a lengthening of the verbal root ‘per-‘ 

 

 

 

What does the proto-indo-european verbal root ‘per’ mean? 

 

‘per-‘ means:

 

to try, to risk.

 

 

 

Fear means try?

 

Risk makes sense.  We fear losing what we risk.

 

When we ‘try’ something, we risk failing.

 

 

 

 

 

One last tangent: what does ‘ex-‘ mean?

 

‘Ex’ means ‘out of’.

 

 

 

Knowing these roots, how can we interpret the word ‘Experiment’ ?

 

Ex – Per – iment.

 

Out of fear.

 

Experience.

 

Out of fear.

 

Or rather:

 

from trying.

 

 

The only way to face fear is to experiment, to face the possibility of trying, and to get something out of trying. 

 

Knowing the meanings of these pieces, we can see an expert might be interpreted as someone who has risked and tried to a huge extent in their field.  They have pulled knowledge from the experience of trying new things.  An expert has literally pulled expertise out of fear.

 

In this way, fear can be a very useful COMPASS.


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Podcast Ep. 63: The Etymology of Fear

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