“The only valid thing in art is the one thing that cannot be explained, to explain away the mystery of a great painting would do irreplaceable harm, for whenever you explain or define something you substitute the explanation or the definition for the” Henri Matisse
We go through life learning to define things by their given names. We see the world through the lens our parents show us and we learn to connect pictures with names and put things in their little boxes. As we get older, many of us rebel because we don’t want to be defined by others and what they see through their narrow lens; yet we perpetuate the behavior with our own labels. When I read the email from my sister that contained the funny definitions below, I chuckled and then thought about the larger meaning of labels, definitions, and the limitations or expectations they bring into our lives. Imagine what it would feel like to arrive at a place with completely different definitions from what is familiar to you. How would you react? What would you do?
MISER: A person who lives poor so that he can die RICH!
OPTIMIST: A person who while diving from a plane without a parachute says “See, I’m not injured yet!”
CIGARETTE: A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end and a fool at the other!
CONFERENCE ROOM: A place where everybody talks, nobody listens and everybody disagrees later on.
To make this little exercise in escapism colorful and relaxing, I’ve added pictures from my garden. These are the flowers currently blooming in my yard. I’m glad to share my first Japanese peony bloom of the season above…. and other flowers too. What’s your take on the definitions?
“County library? Reference desk, please. Hello? Yes, I need a word definition. Well, that’s the problem. I don’t know how to spell it and I’m not allowed to say it. Could you just rattle off all the swear words you know and I’ll stop you when…Hello?” Calvin & Hobbes
CLASSIC: A book which people praise, but never read.
SMILE: A curve that can set a lot of things straight!
BOSS: Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early.
POLITICIAN: One who shakes your hand before an election and your confidence after
When I read the quote above, I had a good laugh as it tied in with this notion of definitions/words that are acceptable or not; our training is fraught with forbidden words and we grow up learning to avoid using certain words or to use others only at special times… Oh, the power of language and all the rules we live by… More funny definitions above and below.