Monday, May 19, 2014

The Origin of the Word "disease"

Within the context of a casual conversation about the world and it's (mal)functioning, one of our group asked whether I knew the origin of the word 'disease'.  I responded by saying that I did not.  Graciously, he went on to explain - dis & ease.  With the world (and our referenced conversation) expressing a variety of quite significant challenges the modern world currently faces (food, water), the word disease fits very well from many different perspectives.  And the reality is that the true origin is in the Old French language.  A rather simple but most appropriate origin.  I find this particularly interesting in that we continue to create a more and more complex world, theoretically increasing the 'dis-ease'.  My thinking is that the world is increasingly complex and thus more challenging to navigate (i.e., increased 'lack of ease').   Is there a limit to complexity where productivity and 'lack-of-ease' collide?  What is the relationship between complexity < > productivity < > disease?

While the dynamics and diversity of activity often make the most productive systems,  and conversely monotypic overly simplified systems are generally less productive, I also believe that the degree of complexity increasingly requires greater levels of understanding regarding the interactions and their consequences.  I am not sure we have the level of understanding needed to appropriately manage the complex systems we have constructed.  That is a very large topic of debate and in reality only time will tell.  Watching and Learning.  Walking On.
noun: disease; plural noun: diseases; noun: dis-ease; plural noun: dis-eases a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.

"bacterial meningitis is a rare disease"

synonyms: illness, sickness, ill health; More a particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.

"departmental administration has often led to the dread disease of departmentalitis"

Middle English (in the sense ‘lack of ease; inconvenience’): from Old French desaise ‘lack of ease,’ from des- (expressing reversal) + aise ‘ease.’

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