April 11, 2017

There needs to be a word for the feeling that you are having a feeling that there needs to be a word for.

That's the feeling I encounter as New York Magazine suggests that I read "10 Extremely Precise Words for Emotions You Didn’t Even Know You Had."

This is an article from last June, so why mention it now? It popped up as related when I was reading something else, something new, in the "Science of Us" section.

But it was freaky because only a couple hours earlier I had an experience that caused me to think about this very subject — a particular emotion that could do with a word.

What was the experience? A song comes on the car radio — it was Ringo Starr singing "It Don't Come Easy" — and my immediate instinct was to change the station, but because Meade immediately began singing along, my original instinct was overridden. My mild inconsequential distaste for the song gave way to my awareness that Meade must be enjoying the song. I was thinking of how often we have these slight inclinations that get tipped the other way by sensing that someone else has a preference, perhaps only an exquisitely slight one, and I thought that if there were a word that expressed that experience, we might notice it quite a bit and benefit by the heightened awareness.

Now, I'm thinking we need a word for the feeling that if there were a word for a specific feeling it would enhance our existence.

35 comments:

Witness said...

The Meaning of Liff

exiledonmainstreet said...

If you were German you could come up with a 30 letter word to describe it.

Jim S. said...

Reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes comic:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4rOCRA09oQ0/U7wZrLyiVYI/AAAAAAAAAs4/pSAjKY2eC8M/s1600/9ooYe.jpg

Darrell said...

Human decency.

rhhardin said...

Brillenbrillanz

The sudden innercating clarity afforded by new glasses.

Ludwigssyndrom

Discovering an indecipherable note in your own handwriting.

M Jordan said...

This was Ringo's best song ... which I admit us t saying much.

Mead wins this round.

buwaya said...

There are human feelings that are culturally determined, or perhaps universal but specially categorized within the cultural context, hence are supplied with words within the language, which though commonplace in their context may not be translatable.

Ex. the Tagalog "kilig" which is a feeling of romantic excitement (usually) to the point of uncontrollable trembling.

Ex. the Tagalog "gigil", which is a feeling of reaction to irresistible cuteness.

etc. - there are quite a few.

cf said...

We are so wealthy in Words, this language -- many languages! -- have so many irresistible specificities, delightful nuance, acute precision, and we get to romp all our lives in the bounty.

Maybe it is the right time. maybe we need to make some more words.

invent a word, ms. althouse. Pythagoras did it many times. he coined "philosophy" -- the love of wisdom -- to describe what it was he did for a living. he invented "cosmos" to describe all of creation as a single, enormous Whole.

invent some words, Ms. Ann. it would be great fun.

bagoh20 said...

sublovission


chickelit said...

Ask Meade if he has the same feeling whenever "My Dinner With Andre" happens to come on the TV and his first instinct is to change channels.

madAsHell said...

If you were German you could come up with a 30 letter word to describe it.

I was always amazed that fahrvergnĂĽgen anglicized to fuckin'groovin'.....and they both mean driving comfortably.

St. George said...

George Harrison wrote the song. It's evident in the lyrics...

Open up your heart, let's come together
Use a little love
And we will make it work out better
I don't ask for much, I only want your trust
And you know it don't come easy
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time
And you know it don't come easy

Peace, remember peace is how we make it
Here within your reach
If you're big enough to take it

Earnest Prole said...

The word you’re groping for is kitsch.

“Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass!”

Ken B said...

My feeling of exasperation when an intelligent person, muddled by a lack of understanding of markets or economics, and addled by resentment for a certain commenter, falls back on empty phrases to justify police dragging a 69 year old off a plane rather than having an airline pay a few hundred bucks. I need a word.

Sebastian said...

What you really need is a word for freaky postmonitions.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Now, I'm thinking we need a word for the feeling that if there were a word for a specific feeling it would enhance our existence."

Two things from Wiki:

The Brahmana layer of Vedic texts equate Om with Bhur-bhuvah-Svah, the latter symbolizing "the whole Veda". They offer various shades of meaning to Om, such as ... ... "the infinite language, the infinite knowledge", or "essence of breath,

In linguistics, the term etymon is used to refer to a word or morpheme (e.g. stem[4] or root[5]) from which a later word is derived.

Now:

Thus: Ometymon.

A word describing the infinite knowledge of knowing a word should be derived.

I am Laslo.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Well, I am not Laslo, who beats me before I even pressed publish, but try this one on. The emotion you are seeking to name should be called:

wordenfreude

Like schadenfreude but with words.

madAsHell said...

Now, I'm thinking we need a word for the feeling that if there were a word for a specific feeling it would enhance our existence.

This is why men hate ballet.

Barry Dauphin said...

Hey, got to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues

madAsHell said...

Wow! Laslo! I saw the recursion, but I couldn't swing the bat. Casa carrera!

StephenFearby said...

"...In its most common current sense, empathy describes the practice of participating vicariously in the psychological perspective and emotions of another. The idiom ‘to put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ represents the view that empathy leads to better understanding of another individual, but different contemporary senses must be distinguished. Cognitive empathy, also known as ‘theory of mind,’ is the ability to adopt a different perspective or, alternately, to identify with characters in fiction. Affective empathy—the capacity to respond appropriately to another’s emotions—manifests itself as either empathetic concern for another or self-centered personal distress in response to another’s suffering. Each type requires significant work of imagination in order to “know” and identify with another’s experiences. Recent application of cognitive empathy to identification with fictional characters demonstrates that empathy continues to be important in the aesthetic realm..."

http://keywords.pitt.edu/keywords_defined/empathy.html

Mark said...

While there was some collaboration with George Harrison, as there was collaboration on most of the Beatles songs even though one was the primary writer, it sounds like and is in fact listed as a Richard Starkey song.

Mark said...

The word is "peace." As in peace of heart, which comes from a good conscience. It is that conscience which tells us to be selfless and considerate toward others and to do them some kindness, such as doing or putting up with something you otherwise would not because another would benefit from it.

This peace also leads to authentic joy, which comes from doing right and being charitable to others.

SteveGW said...

Are these words actually naming new emotions, or are they just making us newly aware of circumstances in which a well-known emotion arises? That is, if an emotion is essentially a qualitative thing (a 'what it is like,') then it may be associated with any number of cognitive, physiological, or circumstantial accidents without changing its nature or becoming a different kind of emotion.

Mark said...

As for indescribable emotions or words for things that do not already have a word, there already is one. Or more specifically, a phrase -- je ne c'est quoi.

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

"police dragging a 69 year old asshole off a plane."

Fixed it for you.

TheThinMan said...

"I was thinking of how often we have these slight inclinations that get tipped the other way by sensing that someone else has a preference": to do a John Roberts.

sparrow said...

I love that Meade's appreciation moved your own sense of the song. For me each genre of music is associated with someone I care about who loved it (Dad loved the classics, Mom loves jazz my sister classic rock and my wife loves country). So almost no matter what I hear, there's someone I care about linked to it in my mind.

tim in vermont said...

Ringo was the MSG of the Beatles, everybody is supposed to hate the stuff, but used in moderation, it ups the flavor of a dish.

J2 said...


Altruessence.

gorgo331 said...

Deja new?

J2 said...


Aphasphoria

James Graham said...

What is wrong with ineffable?


Definition of ineffable
1
a :  incapable of being expressed in words :  indescribable ineffable joy
b :  unspeakable ineffable disgust
2

Rich Rostrom said...

It's a special case of the situation of not having the right word for whatever.