The Value of Location!

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“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” 
 Albert Einstein

Munich

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

12 thoughts on “The Value of Location!

  1. Very interesting. We rarely think about where expressions come from. I realized this when I met my husband and began to try and explain what they mean.

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    • Oh, LaVagabonde! You have identified exactly what language is all about. When I ask someone to translate something into English from their native language, they usually have to stop and think before they speak. It isn’t only the words, it is the ideas behind the phrase, the nuance of a thought that sometimes cannot be captured, no matter how much they try. I was on the National Geographic site –

      “The disappearance of a language deprives us of knowledge no less valuable than some future miracle drug that may be lost when a species goes extinct. Small languages, more than large ones, provide keys to unlock the secrets of nature, because their speakers tend to live in proximity to the animals and plants around them, and their talk reflects the distinctions they observe.”

      http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/07/vanishing-languages/rymer-text

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  2. Great post and two outstanding quotes. Both of them give us a view into greatness. True, there is a lot of difference between success and value but how often we consider them the same.

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    • Oh, how well said! We take short-cuts to valuation, because of the complexities that associated with assessing value. Thanks so much for your comments! 🙂

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  3. How did we get from there to here? Ever play the game telephone, where you sit in a circle and whisper a word. What starts is never what finishes. The evolution of a word is fascinating. All the confusions in-between, the zillion definitions and meanings for one word, not so fascinating. Your posts are wonderfully stimulating.

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    • I remember those games – what fun it was and how we laughed when the last person gave us the final answer. Thank you so much for your encouragement! Very much appreciated!!! 🙂

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  4. Another lovely post full of fascinating facts..I love them…and the quotes.. . sometimes I think success is the most over – valued word in the language !!!

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    • I agree! I agree! I agree! To me, that word, which has the power of celebration, has been the cause of many destructive and hurtful moments. Perhaps it is because it carries with it an interpretation of a benchmark, of measurement that we must attain before becoming a “success.” 🙂

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  5. What a beautiful photo and fascinating post, Rebecca, and oh my goodness, how true that Marcus Aurelius quote is.

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    • I remember the first time I read a Marcus Aurelius quote. I was upset at a certain situation that seemed to be insolvable. This is the quote – it changed the way I looked at the problem!

      “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
      ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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