Túrin’s Dictionary

The words that I use to understand reality. If a word is listed here, it means the concept it conveys is one which I think is crucial for that task. (After all, if I intended this to be a comprehensive list of all the words I know, it would be tens of thousands of entries long.) Also, if a word is here, it often means I emphasize different aspects of the definition than others – so read my definition of the word!

  • deduct – v. To apply general laws to specific cases and thus arrive at a conclusion. To act in the world, we must use deduction, and yet we cannot deduct without general laws, which we get from induction; the two are thus inextricably linked.
  • empathize – v. To attempt to understand another person’s state of mind despite the impossibility of actually becoming them. That impossibility makes empathy impossible, and yet it remains necessary for human life. To empathize with another is to treat them as another subject, not merely an object.
  • faerie – n. The sense of mystery we feel when we encounter nature as separate from the self and from society, impossible to understand, and yet intended by God. Tied to a feeling of strangeness, of the foreign, the “other.”
  • hue – n. The aspect of color captured by the rainbow, whose essence is variety without inherent moral meaning. Red, blue, green, etc, have different emotional flavors, but are in themselves neither good nor evil.
  • induct – v. To move from a finite data set to a general conclusion. Life itself is inductive, for the universe is finite, and yet we attempt to find meaning in it that is not arbitrary, not finite, divine. Language is also inductive; we will only experience the hearing or reading of a given word a finite number of times, yet we can extrapolate a meaning from it beyond the mere amalgamation of those experiences.
  • meta-narrative – n. The narrative that governs the narrative, the story that governs the story. It is this that the numinous points to. The sequence of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement, is a meta-narratological concept, as are explanation of history such as progressivism and cyclicism.
  • mythopoeia – n. The art of constructing fictional realities, “sub-creations,” which brings the artist close to God in a way entirely different from that of philosophy.
  • numinous – adj. Suggestive of the power or presence of a divinity, and of final causality; the “why” rather than the “how.” Different from “fey” in that the numinous is generally spiritual, whereas the fey is necessarily physical, and related specifically to nature.
  • sacramentality – n. The idea that soul and body, form and matter, are inextricably linked. They can be separated conceptually, but not in reality.  Applies to art as well; form is content, the medium is the message, symbols are real, not merely nominal.
  • sincerity – n. The virtue of presenting oneself as one is, rather than as one wishes to be perceived. Necessary if one is to be empathized with, or (since empathy must be reciprocal) to empathize with another.
  • spell – v. To entrance, draw in, convey a meaning. What a poem does to us when we read it: through its language, rhyme, wordplay, it impresses on us an emotional state we perhaps would never have experienced otherwise.
  • sublime – n. What is extreme, out of proportion to mankind, overwhelming. The sublime, though not itself divine, reminds us of God. An example of the sublime might be a vast mountain, or a storm at sea.
  • value – n. The aspect of color contained within the dichotomy of light and dark, and which carries a moral connotation, but has no aesthetic value.
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