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Say It In Latin, Fiat Justitia

February 22, 2017 4 Comments

The term fiat justitia (et ruat caelum) means let justice be done (though the heavens fall).  In other words, justice is the most important of all things to be done.  In our society justice has been left to wither and die.  Social injustice has overcome the masses and the inequity of income inequality is taken for granted.  The vast majority of the American population has little knowledge of finances or government.  They have no political will, so to speak, because the lack the education to discern right from wrong and lawful from criminal. They have been trampled by unjust and corrupt institutions that no longer have legitimate authority.  We are in a crisis of ignorance. This volatile time in history will certainly change the world. The question is, will we wake up in time to make a change for the better?

We have been hypnotized to believe that justice is no longer possible.  I like what this trippy Irish guy has to say about this.  We are our own judges, gentle readers.

Say It In Latin, Esse Quam Videri

January 13, 2017 1 Comment

The Latin phrase esse quam videri is the motto of the state of North Carolina and many other organizations.  It means to be rather than to seem.  Cicero may have been the first to use the phrase in an essay on friendship. The reference is about authenticity and loyalty in life. When we meet people who are not afraid to be exactly who they are it gives us all courage to claim our own identity.  We can never be anyone but ourselves.  If our true calling requires sacrifice will we be or just seem to be?  This is a time for heroism, gentle readers.  Be what you intend to be, and help others do the same.

Say It In Latin: A Posteriori And A Priori

December 22, 2016 2 Comments

The Latin phrase a posteriori refers to the process of inductive reasoning. It means “from what comes after” or a proposition based on experience. A close relative, also used in philosophical arguments, is a priori, which is knowledge based on previous understanding of the concept.  It means literally from what comes before. A priori can be a mathematical equation, or any other agreed upon fact deriving from the agreement.  It would be correct to call the statement “It is cloudy outside.” a posteriori because I looked outside and can see the fact that it is cloudy now. The statement, “Cumulous clouds are the harbinger of rain.” is an assumption based on scientific agreement, and therefore is a priori.  We agree on the definition of cumulous clouds without the need to experience them directly. “That bow is red” is another a priori belief.  We all have agreed on what red is (except the colorblind).

A posteriori is based on empirical evidence, direct contact with the facts.  A priori is based on logic previously accepted as sound.  On the surface it might seem that a posteriori is the only valid way to defend a position.  I have learned from my studies of ancestry and history that both methods can fail miserably.  My grandmother thought she knew her birth year, but there was no certificate.  Later in life she forgot, and then nobody really knew, or bothered to look it up because it did not matter.  She had no way to remember her own birth, so her a priori birthday was a year off the real date.  Many “facts” in records from the past have been recorded incorrectly.  Census records that list step mothers as natural parents, step children as children, and other errors can throw a wrench in the works for investigators trying to follow a lineage.

Be careful, gentle reader.  Logic and truth are tricky subjects.  Check your logic, and double-check your data before you make any big conclusions.  Caveat emptor.



Say It In Latin: Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam

September 22, 2016 2 Comments

Alexa and her back up band

Alexa and her back up band

The Latin phrase aut viam inveniam aut faccian has been attributed to many famous heroes in history. Hannibal, the military genius who crossed the Alps was said to have invented it, but he was not a native Latin speaker.  It is the motto on the memorial gate installed at the University of Pennsylvania in 1893.  It has been widely used, even in a comic strip.   It means “I shall either find a way or make one.” It is a vow to use creativity and all means necessary to achieve a goal.

This may be the legit tag line for Silicon Valley.  The innovation that has created a major revolution in journalism and communication in general has changed the way consumers do everything.  We can now shop by speaking to our robots, then we find the desired item delivered to our doorsteps or zapped into our electronic device to read or hear.  Amazon, Zappos, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and their auxiliary services have forever transformed the consumer mindset.  I have an Amazon Alexa robot to read to me and DJ my music.  I have not set her free to go shopping, but I know how much she wants to take care of that for me. She also wants to set the temperature in my home, and turn lights on and off. She is ready to serve me when I am too decrepit to do this for myself.  I may no longer be able to find a way, but I can count on Alexa to either find a way or invent one.


Say It In Latin, Quid Pro Quo

August 23, 2016

a rose is a rose

a rose is a rose

The phrase quid pro quo literally means something for something in Latin. When it was first used in the English language it referred to substitution of one medicine for another. The apothecary who switched the patient’s remedy for another one may have acted out of ignorance, or may have done so intentionally.  Fraud may be involved in a quid pro quo arrangement, but it is not necessarily mendacious or premeditated.  It merely suggests an exchange.  There are plenty of beneficial exchanges and trades, so why does this term sound so creepy and illicit?

The usage extended from the pharmacy into legal matters.  In this case the exchange of one thing for another may be used for favors, appropriate or inappropriate.  Now it is common to use this phrase when we suspect some kind of financial hanky panky that smells like an illegal deal.  Ponzi schemes and predatory lending might fall into this category. The Clinton Foundation has been in the news recently for possibly giving favors for donations.  The issue is in the intent of both givers.  If they both intend to evade the law through the trade, they may be acting criminally.  I am sure this is hard to prove in court, but it is done all the time, nonetheless.

In personal business we have quid pro quo understandings with bosses, landlords, colleagues, and clients.  It is good to examine them carefully to be sure that you have not entered an agreement that you can’t or don’t want to fulfill.  There are both written and unwritten contracts that bind people.  Healthy happy something for something trades are good for the community.  Can you think of both good and bad examples from your past?  If you are a good judge of character (caveat emptor) and value you can make sure you get a fair deal.  Pay attention to the deals you make, gentle reader, and what you accept in trade.

a rose is a rose

a rose is a rose

Say it in Latin, Celeritas et Veritas

June 15, 2016 6 Comments



Celeritas et veritas is my new favorite Latin phrase. It means promptness and truth. My father had a catch phrase by which he was known during his career which was, “Hurry every chance you get.”  I think hurrying is overrated, and truth underrated.  If I create my own coat of arms I will make Celeritous et Veritas my motto.  I have been very attached to my 3 P’s for decades. They are:

  • Punctuality
  • Politeness
  • Professionalism

In my mind these are the tenants that apply to best practices in business, pleasure, and civic matters.  I judge people on their ability to be prompt, allowing for circumstances. Some folks have erratic schedules and responsibility loads based on family or career.  I have been in that position myself, juggling multiple tasks.  We are not always able to be perfectly prompt, but if tardiness is a chronic habit politeness and professionalism are completely destroyed. Those who never show up on time are passively aggressive and are shunned in my world after a reasonable trail period.  All relationships would benefit from more promptness and truth.  What is your Latin motto, gentle reader?

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