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Friday, September 09, 2005

"Parabolical"?

I've always like curved lines.

I've always been drawn by fables, allegories, parables.

I don't know why it took me so long to see the connection.

par·a·bol·ic - (adj.)

1: resembling or expressed by parables
2: having the form of a parabola

Although I often trace the history of words, it never crossed my mind until this week -- "parable" and "parabola" have the same root!

When I see something out of the corner of my "mind's eye" like that, it begins to nag at me on some deep, semi-aware level. What do parables and parabolas have in common? Why do I enjoy them both so much? The questions kept pulling me back.

I think I've reached a conclusion...at least one that will satisfy my curiosity for now. Both are very effective ways to "sneak up" on a target!

If I run at you full-tilt, you'll probably see me coming and dodge out of the way. Then, I have to run at you again. If I want to get through the gates of your fortress, it will probably take me repeated charges with my battering ram. In other words, not very time- or energy-efficient.

However.... If I use the parabolic concept, I can easily lob a water balloon that lands on your head. Or, I can compromise the safety of your fortress by using a catapult to deliver a well-placed rock, flaming bundle, or cow!

How does that compare with a parable? If I preach and pronounce and denounce, it's often easy to duck out of the way of truth. To put up defenses.

But suppose I tell you a story....

Once upon a time, a storyteller spun an enchanting tale. Her listeners sat entranced. They laughed. They cried. They followed the intriguing arc of the storyline. As they sat, fascinated, watching and listening, a projectile of truth hit them squarely in the head or the heart. They never saw it coming.

So I guess you could say that when it comes to communicating truth, my methods are sometimes downright "parabolical"! Mwahahahaha!

5 comments:

Mark O. Wilson said...

Marcia,
Thanks for posting on my blog. Cathy knows your family -- I've met your folks too. We went to school with Julia. Cathy remembers that our weddings are just about the same time -- Julia's on Aug 14, and ours is Aug 28.

Cathy also said she met a Tiffany (sp?) when she was up at Sussex last November -- and she had recently been married.

So -- it is, indeed, a small world.
What is your last name?

Tony Myles said...

That story reminds me of a story...

Mark O. Wilson said...

Parabolical -- That's the Jesus Method of communication.

Not "expository" -- but "exposi-story!"

Cathy says she remembers your hubby from Elk Grove days!

I unlocked Hannah's blog so you can post a comment

Gord said...

that's brilliant. thanks for helping me make the connection.

Anonymous said...

What about parabolic as in http://www.mathsisfun.com/geometry/parabola.html - A parabola is a curve where any point is at an equal distance froma fixed point (the focus), and a fixed straight line (the directrix) - versus parabolic communication of meaning?