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September 8th, 2018
Few would mind becoming more interesting as a person. But what exactly does it mean to be interesting?
It seems logical that interesting people have interests that have them doing work that we find fascinating. But such a sentence is like a definition that uses the word. It’s an effectively meaningless and redundant statement.
What is interesting?
Let’s CLEAVE this sucker.
The word ‘interesting’ comes from a two-part etymology.
inter- means ‘between’.
the –esting (esse) part comes from the Proto-Indo-European root ‘es’, meaning ‘to be’. A good word to think about in order to more fully appreciate this root is a word that starts with it: ‘essence’.
Let’s put this sucker back together.
Interesting, literally means to be between states of being. Or: to be between essences.
How can we make sense of this little riddle? What does it mean to be between states of being? Well, such an image evokes the notion of departing from a prior state of being. We can think of this as a literal place. Who we were yesterday, for example. The in-between space though is by default a state of less certainty. Like jumping from one stepping stone to another. While soaring through the air, our outcome is uncertain. Will we fall between the stones to our demise? Or land safely on a new stone, a step further in our journey of becoming something greater? If the person we will be tomorrow is the same person that we were yesterday, then we by definition cease to be interesting. We are not transcending essences and turning into a different person. We are not wandering in productive areas.
To be interesting –at the root of it’s meaning- is to get out of your comfort zone.
Isn’t that interesting?
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