02 December 2019

Word for the day: quotidian

"... I venture to suggest that egotistical little creatures like us could perhaps love our enemies and turn the other cheek—if we received some kind of divine experience. But under what circumstances might that happen? How would we improve the odds of receiving a divine pat? Let me read you what Sogyal Rinpoche says in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying:
If we look into our lives, we will see clearly how many unimportant tasks, so-called responsibilities accumulate to fill them up. . . . We tell ourselves we want to spend time on the important things of life, but there never is any time.
Even simply to get up in the morning, there is so much to do: open the window, make the bed, take a shower, brush your teeth, feed the dog or cat, do last night’s washing up, discover that you are out of sugar or coffee, go and buy them, make breakfast—the list is endless. Then, there are clothes to sort out, choose, iron, and fold up again. And what about your hair and makeup? Helpless, we watch our days fill up with telephone calls and petty projects with so many responsibilities—or shouldn’t we call them “irresponsibilities”?
It’s clear to me that we’re unlikely to have an experience of the divine while we’re dashing around, ticking things off lists, caught up in quotidian details, and pretty much unaware of our own existence. We’re not going to have the sort of attention we need for a subtler experience while it’s all being wasted on ordinary life.

So we need to be quiet..."
Above text from the writings of John Cleese, cited in Harper's (longread essay at the link).

Some details about quotidian:

Etymology: From Anglo-Norman cotidian... Latin cottīdiānus (“happening every day”)... derived from quot (“how many”) + locative form of diēs (“day”).

Definitions (adjective):
1. (medicine) Recurring every twenty-four hours...  (of symptoms, etc). [from 14th c.]
2. Happening every day; daily. [from 15th c.]
3. Having the characteristics of something which can be seen, experienced, etc, every day or very commonly; commonplace, ordinary, mundane. [from 15th c.]

 Definitions (noun):
1.  (medicine, now rare, historical) A fever which recurs every day; quotidian malaria. [from 14th c.] 2.  (Anglicanism) A daily allowance formerly paid to certain members of the clergy. [from 16th c.]
3.  (usually with definite article) Commonplace or mundane things regarded as a class. [from 20th c.]

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