“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”
In our existence, we are affixed to location coordinates. We can move from point A to point B, but we cannot be in both places simultaneously. Our words reflect our connection to a specific locality, event or occupation. They are a reflection of our value and status within our community.
When we take a “back seat,” we accept a lesser position. Tradition dictates, within the British Parliament, that those who belong to the majority party take the front seats while those in the minority “take a back seat.” The word “Bedlam,” which signifies “uproar and confusion” comes from the London lunatic asylum by the same name. Bedlam’s history dates back to 1247, when a priory founded “St. Mary of Bethlehem.” Bethlem Royal Hospital, as it is known today, has the distinction of being Europe’s first and oldest institution specializing in mental illnesses.
We go to our local “hangout” or gathering place for a social event, but the “hangout” was originally meant as a place of business. In the past, all professional men, artisans and trades people used signage to indicate their occupation and place of business. The “hangout” was where they literally hung their signs and indicated their value within society.
For those who enjoy being in the “limelight” or being the centre of attention, the phrase comes from calcium or “lime.” In the past, lime was a required element in producing the light of a spotlight. The brilliant white light was produced by oxygen and hydrogen coming together to burn upon a ball of lime. And for those who find themselves “on the carpet” or in trouble, originally the “boss’s” office was the only one to have a carpet. If you were summoned to his or her office, it wasn’t usually for an increase in salary.
Sometimes, we may be tempted to “upstage” or draw attention away from another person. At one time, the rear of a theatre stage was higher than the front. The actor standing “upstage” appeared higher, more prestigious. This was the traditional position for the actor-king. Anyone who presumed to move “upstage” was assuming a higher-ranking position than was warrant.
“A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations