επέκεινα

The language is the work.

We start with είμαι (I am). Then καταλαβαινω and περιμένω and πηγαίνω and μένω. Understand, wait, go, stay. Each day, the beauty of the Greek language — Dora tells us stories about each word, etymology and connections and new understanding. Even the word etymology: eti- I’m guessing from είδηση (ethisi — the word, news, intelligence, communication), although here it says it’s from the ancient έτυμον (etimon — true sense).

Most satisfying so far is the hunt for επέκεινα (epekeina), revealed during dinner by Maria, the doctor who has devoted her life to torture victims. She says this word is not easily translated (in fact, she said it was impossible). A kind of beyond. Further (within the self), or outside the limit (death). She describes a kind of Powers-of-Ten idea, that a change in scale (beyond us) may actually yield different versions of the same self.

Tags

2 Comments

  1. Wonderfully appropriate that ‘understand’ is a front-ender in this process; so logical. And countering that which can be pinned down, you’re discovering (again, here, as in Rome), things which can never be pinned down.

  2. Wendy Richmond

    Ah yes! This is so good, the way language is affecting you. So much comes from language, and how it shapes the way we understand the world. FYI, here is something that I keep in my head: the etymology of the word inspire. “c.1300, immediate influence of God, inspirare ‘inspire, inflame, blow into,’ from ‘in’ + spirare, ‘to breathe.’”

Leave a Comment