Standard, diversity and multitude.
Uno, nessuno e centomila.
Dear Lucie and Axelle, following our conversation, my mind stayed stuck on this term: multitude.
It also has some vintage charm.
Words change meaning over time and become offensive when before they were inclusive, language itself is an institution as you said. A slow process.
But let’s think of it out of context. A multitude describe an amount of things, let’s call them possibilities. They are not much positive or negative they are just an amount that might be made of the same things or of complete different things.
It might also be made just of one thing, or maybe of nothing. One of my favourite story is the novel by Pirandello: Uno, nessuno e centomila. There are so many noses on one nose. The problem of singularity is not just a dilemma for physics to describe the beginning of the Universe, it is also a dilemma to describe one owns persona. I am nobody, I am one, I am all the idea of me that you have (and those that I have of myself). And you, yes, you are the same.
So, we are a multitude, we are many.
It will superficially give the hope to some stubborn minds that we might be a perfect explainable phenomena, shaped in a diamond size, because carbon atoms combined that way seam to be a very stable event. When I was a teenager I remember telling my latin teacher that I didn’t want to study, I wanted to have fun. It might have been when I started to love etymology.
Studere in latin means what it still means today, to apply yourself in some research or quest about whatever you think is interesting. To have fun, it italian is said “divertire”. As my teacher told me back then: da (other direction) + volgere (turn). It is what we nowaday would call procrastinate.
I am having a lot of fun when I study, but I don’t necessarily am using the word “divertire” so easily anymore. Nevertheless I think that diversion sometimes is the best method to continue studying.
What I am trying to formulate is maybe the following thought: diversion implies that there is something to divert from: probably a standard. Diversity implies a reaction to a standard. But if you embrace the multitude, you have to cope with constant transformation of a variety. The act of reacting become a relation, even in disagreement, because you know that any standard will just be a point of view. or none. Or 100.000. There is no way to ontologically* label it, western languages are an institution that fail us, because they don't imply the gradient of transformations, they just describe states.
But it is what we have, so let’s have fun ;)
* of course, we can try to use other verbs than "to be" but it is (ups) hard work.