A Lexicographical Addendum

. . . in other words, an addition to the dictionary.

Table of Contents:

Alphabetized list of words and phrases

ansible, auralize, cathect, child of the body, child of the mind, child of the spirit, compersion, copage, copage pump, copon, EFL, ficton, framling, glark, grok, Hanlon's Razor, idiolect, individuation, NRE, numinous, Occam's Razor, poach, quantum copodynamics, raman, Ugol's Law, utlanning, varelse

Abbreviation Key

The words in this Addendum have three different types of origins.

The first category (abbreviated [ISI] for Invented Slang or Idiolect) are those words that have been recently invented, whether they belong to one person's idiolect, or have reached a more widespread use as slang or jargon.

The second category ([SM] for Special Meaning) is comprised of special, unusual, technical or specific uses of ordinary words. It differs from ISI in that SM words already exist in common parlance, but in this Addendum their meaning is different.

The third category ([TR] for Too Rare) are words that appear in any (complete enough) dictionary, but are not in common usage. I include them here because I feel that people would benefit from having them available when they try to communicate.

Annotated Dictionary

ansible (n.)

[ISI] A device which can communicate information (but not matter) instantly across interstellar distances.

As far as I can tell, this word first originated in Ursula K. Leguin's novel "The Left Hand of Darkness," an excellent novel about the experience of a human ambassador to a newly discovered planet, each of whose inhabitants has the option of changing his or her sex every month. (The novel also illustrates well the dangers of thinking that you fully grok the nature and society of any new ramen.) The word ansible was then given wider circulation by Orson Scott Card, who used it in his ficton involving Ender Wiggin, a.k.a. the Speaker for the Dead. It has since turned up in many varied places, including the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel entitled "Time's Enemy", by L. A. Graf.

auralize (v.tr.)

[ISI] This word is to the sense of hearing what "visualize" is to sight; in other words, to auralize is to imagine what something would sound like. As far as I know, this word was invented by Joshua Madden. It definitely has its uses.

cathect (v.tr.)

1. [TR] To invest mental or emotional energy or significance in a person, activity, object, or idea.

2. [SM] More specifically, to invest a strong positive emotional significance etc. Usage: "The man cathected his garden." I have most frequently seen it used in sense 2, by psychiatrists, where a layperson might say "The man loved his garden." The sense 2 usage is more specific than "love". The implication is that the man thinks a lot about his garden, tries to grok it, understand it, absorb it into his being --- but sees it only as accessory to, a reflection of, himself. This is not love; this is not the way one should treat other human beings. Thus the psychiatrists have a separate word for it.

cathexis (n.), cathectic (adj.)

child of the body (n. phrase)

[ISI] Any offspring of a person's body, through ordinary two-parent genetic reproduction or other more exotic means, that takes matter (and usually design instructions) from the parent body.

For a fictional example of a nonstandard child of the body, consider the character of Jadzia Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. If you do not believe that she is the same person as she was before joining with the symbiont Dax (that is, back when she was still just Jadzia), then it follows that Jadzia Dax is a child of Jadzia's body. For further thought on this subject, see "The Metaphysics of Star Trek."

child of the mind (n. phrase)

[ISI] Any offspring or product of a person's mind or mental energies.

A book is a good example of a child of its author's mind. A robot designed by an engineer would be a child of the engineer's mind. The only examples that I can think of of actual offspring of a person's mind come, naturally, from fiction. Star Trek fans may think of Data as a child of Dr. Soong's mind (Data is certainly not a child of Soong's body). The young versions of Peter and Valentine in Orson Scott Card's "Xenocide" are children of Ender's mind.

child of the spirit (n. phrase)

[ISI] Any person, institution, entity or other thing which a person (the "parent") imbues with his or her philosophy, values, moral themes, and/or spiritual legacy, etc., to the effect that the person or thing preserves many or all of the parent's beliefs, spirit, character, or personal goals, possibly also carrying on any causes or crusades that the parent might have belonged to or advocated.

Much of the American civil rights movement of the 1960's is in part a child of Martin Luther King Jr.'s spirit. Lt. Commander Data of Star Trek could possibly be considered to be a child of Soong's spirit in addition to being a child of his mind. The children of our bodies are not only not children of our minds, but frequently not children of our spirits either, seeing as they often follow different drummers than their parents, or sometimes oppose everything that their parents stood for. For one author's thoughts upon that last example, see 'On Children' from "The Prophet," by Kahlil Gibran.

compersion (n.)

[ISI] The opposite of jealousy. Compersion is the feeling of taking joy in the joy that others you love share amongst themselves, esp. taking joy in the knowledge that your beloveds are expressing their love for one another.

As far as I have been able to trace it, this word originated in the Kerista commune. Now the word is spreading; there is even a site called www.Compersion.net.

compersive (adj.)

copage (n.)

[ISI] The ability to cope with or deal with a situation, institution or person. People who do not procrastinate, never let themselves get intimidated out of doing something, and do not fall prey to inertia are said to "have a lot of copage". Frequently, just before leaving to start some (often unpleasant) task, the speaker will say, "I am going to go assert some copage", i.e. demonstrate to the world that the speaker has the ability to deal with whatever is at hand.

See also copage pump, copon, and quantum copodynamics.

copage pump (n.)

[ISI] A copage pump should be imagined as a small device one would wear, say on one's belt. Just as a heat pump pumps heat in from the surrounding atmosphere to a specific room or chamber, a copage pump pumps copons from the surrounding area into the pump, or into the wearer. Given the obvious shortage of copage in today's society, it is important not to waste any. These devices help prevent that, by capturing stray copons, and are especially useful in the vicinity of sources known to emit lots of copons, such as Congress (only logical, since Congress is the opposite of progress).

For an excellent example of what not to do with a copage pump, see quantum copodynamics.

copon (n.)

[ISI] Just as a photon is a small packet or quantity of light, a copon is a small unit of copage. One imagines that absorbing copons gives one more ability to cope, while emitting them decreases your ability to cope. If a person simply refuses to deal with a situation, he or she is said to be "emitting copons".

Copons are of course what is handled by a copage pump, and the technical study of them is known as quantum copodynamics.

All words derived from copage come from several conversations I had with Jeff Lassahn and Joshua Madden.

EFL (n. abbrev.)

[ISI] EFL stands for "Emotional Feedback Loop." A state between oneself and another person (or group of people) in which one groks "where the other person is coming from" fully enough so that when one tries to imagine what the other is feeling emotionally, and why, one is essentially correct: correct enough so that when one acts in that situation, things go intensely, but predictably enough that one can "feel the flow."

Some examples of EFLs: NRE, while it lasts, usually has many EFL moments. A good conversation with a friend, when the topics of discussion are (emotionally) important and both sides are truly trying to listen to what the other is saying, can reach an EFL state. Actors often feel an EFL, either during a rehearsal, energy running high and everyone literally following the same script, or during a performance, when they can tell that the audience has connected with the story and hangs on their words and deeds.

Most EFLs are, perhaps unsurprisingly, loops of positive emotion. Often the emotions of the people involved heterodyne, growing in a seemingly synergistic fashion until one reaches a "high." This is strongly related to NRE. However, EFLs of negative emotions can certainly exist, ranging from a possibly desirable melancholy EFL to cycles of fear and despair, or the fury of a riotous mob.

ficton (n.)

1. [ISI] The smallest unit or quantum of imagination.

2. [ISI] A fictional world or universe within which a story or stories are set.

3. [ISI] A particular locale in spacetime. "In the ficton I grew up in, we . . ."

The term (first two meanings) first appeared, I believe, in Heinlein's "The Number of the Beast." The third meaning is a derivation of the second, and first appeared, as far as I know, in Spider Robinson's novel "Lifehouse."

framling (n.)

[ISI] A framling is a member of one's own species that dwells on another planet. For example, if I am a human being and an American, then a person who lived on Mars would be a framling to me; a Ukranian would be an utlanning. These two words, plus also raman and varelse appear in the "History of Wutan in Trondheim," a fictional work described by Orson Scott Card in his novel "Speaker for the Dead," set in the same ficton as "Ender's Game."

These four words (utlanning, framling, raman, and varelse) are known as the "Hierarchy of Exclusion," and all four of these words are categorized in this Addendum as ISI for English, despite the fact that they most likely mean something in whatever Nordic language Card found "utlanning" in.

glark (v.tr.)

[ISI] To figure out from context. "They didn't define the word anywhere, but I glarked the meaning."

grok (v.tr.)

1. [ISI] To drink.

2. [ISI] To merge with, become one with, understand so fully that one loses identity in the group experience. To have a deep understanding of, including but not limited to, empathy with whatever or whomever one is grokking.

Both meanings of this word come from Robert A. Heinlein's novel Stranger in a Strange Land. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Hanlon's Razor (proverb)

"Never ascribe to malice that which may be adequately explained by stupidity."

I found this maxim in The New Hacker's Dictionary, second edition. If you like the style of this Lexicographical Addendum, you will probably like the style of this book, and vice versa.

idiolect (n.)

[TR] A person's individual speech pattern.

individuation (n.)

[SM] The determination or contraction of a general nature to an individual mode of existence; development of the individual from the general.

NRE (n. abbrev.)

[ISI] NRE stands for "New Relationship Energy". It has slightly different meanings depending on the speaker, but essentially it refers to the giddy feelings, rush of energy, lack of worries and sense of connectedness that characterize one's feelings at the beginning of a new romantic relationship. Someone once defined NRE as "a strong monogamy urge with a new lover," which is useful but does not tell the whole story. Sometimes these feelings (or similar ones) are felt when one first joins a group of people who all share with oneself a common interest or point of view.

See also EFL.

numinous (n. & adj.)

[TR] Inspiring a sacred or holy feeling of awe and wonder. "He thought of the numinous as a thing 'wholly other,' and the human response to it as 'absolute astonishment.'" [Carl Sagan's novel Contact, p. 159] See also the 'oceanic feeling' mentioned by Freud at the beginning of his "Civilization and its Discontents," and any of the Perelandra trilogy by C. S. Lewis.

More to come on this later, as it requires further research . . .

Occam's Razor (principle or maxim)

"When you have two competing theories which make exactly the same predictions, the one that is simpler is the better."

There are many variations of this principle. Since the monk William of Occam to whom it is attributed originally wrote in Latin, any English rendition has a difficult time claiming to be the statement of Occam's Razor. The above is a statement of the principle that is useful to scientists; modern philosophers and scientists have come up with others, some stronger. This link also gives a few statements of the principle in Latin.

poach (v.intr.)

[ISI] The reverse of cheating, i.e. to engage in a romantic/sexual relationship with someone who is "taken", someone who is already involved in one or more exclusive relationships.

quantum copodynamics (n.)

[ISI] This is the modern theory of copons. Little research has been done as yet into anticopons, and their relationship to bogons (see the source on quantum bogodynamics mentioned below). Some results are known, however. Copons are a type of boson (and thus are not subject to the Pauli exclusion principle). They always have integral spin, and no lepton number. Observations of copons with nonzero charm and with nonzero strangeness have been reported, and copons apparently couple, at least indirectly, to all forces except the strong nuclear force.

For a classic example of the intriguing nature of copodynamics, consider the case of a copage pump attempting to suck in more copon flux than it can handle. The pump, unable to deal with the flow of copons, must naturally emit copons of its own due to its inability to cope with the aforementioned flux. This increases the amount of copons in the pump's vicinity, overloading the pump still further. This unfortunate cycle continues until finally the copage pump explodes, releasing its store of copons out into the world.

If other copage pumps set on maximum absorption are nearby, they may attempt to absorb the radiated copons. If they cannot do this successfully, they themselves fall into the same feedback loop. Chain reactions of this nature have been known to annihilate entire software companies.

The best way to deal with this situation is to surround the first exploding pump with humans intent on cleaning up after it and preventing a chain reaction. They will usually absorb enough copons in the process to damp down the ambient copon flux, in a fashion very similar to the role cadmium rods play in nuclear reactors.

See also quantum chromodynamics (for example, look here, or for an alternative, try here), quantum bogodynamics (defined here).

raman (n., pl. ramen)

[ISI] A member of a species of intelligent beings (different from your own) with whom one can achieve meaningful dialogue. Whether or not dolphins are ramen or varelse has not yet been satisfactorily determined to my knowledge.

See also framling and utlanning.

Ugol's Law (proverb)

"The answer to the question 'Am I the only one who . . .' is no."

I found this maxim quoted by various people on the Internet. If you know (and have some way to prove) who originated it, please let me know.

utlanning (n.)

[ISI] A member of one's own species from the same planet but another country. Contrast with framling.

varelse (n.pl.)

[ISI] A species of beings with whom one cannot achieve meaningful dialogue. Contrast with raman.

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(Last updated 4/8/02000)