Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Today's Word: Poshlost

Note: I take off holidays, and every now and then I need to give my typing hands a rest. I can only look at the screen for so long. I appreciate all of the emails from friends wondering where the daily word had gone!

I hope all of my American readers had a wonderful holiday weekend! America's independence was the first step in a grand adventure that has become synonymous with freedom and liberty across the globe.

But beware! The trappings of a free-society are easy to mimic and distort! A beautiful building with rotten support beams and a weak foundation is doomed to crumble. The same holds true for cultures that focus so hard on the spoils of freedom that the fundamentals that define freedom are neglected!

Today, with a nod towards the Melbourne Bookworms and to Russian author Vladimir Nabokov, we look at the word poshlost (which is slowly gaining use in English, frequently transmuted into term "poshlust" which adds accurate, if unintentional, dual implications.)

Poshlost refers to an inescapable banality...a vulgarity that runs like an infection through a culture. It is a term that describes not just the obvious perversions and grime but also the patina of beauty that lures people in like a poisonous flower. As many an overnight-celebrity will confirm; a fancy cage is a cage none-the-less.

Poshlost is a warning and a lament. It's a recognition of a seemingly indefatigable human disposition towards greed and self-serving egotism. It ties nicely into the Buddhist concept of suffering as the basest form of human existence.

But don't worry! The ability to recognize and define poshlust gives us the ability to overcome and transcend it. By encouraging integrity and substance, we can fin our way into the clear.



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