Monday, May 3, 2010

They Stole My Word

Conjugation is a funny thing. You can verb up a noun... like .. Tweeting. Or Blogging. Or you can adjective up a noun. Or noun up a verb. And, we all sort of cringe when people say "incent" or "incentivize" when they mean "give incentives." And yet, we all understand it.

In my industry, we like the word "dynamic." Everything is dynamic, in the sense that things are ever-changing or ever shifting. Not dynamic, in the sense of being a dynamic personality. We don't have dynamic personalities. We're in IT.

But we like to refer to the dynamic nature of things - and "the dynamic nature of things" is a long phrase. We'd prefer to say .. the dynamism. And be done. Except..

Dynamism is a metaphysical concept conceived by Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716) and developed into a full system of cosmology. Dynamism in metaphysical cosmology explains the material world in terms of active, pointlike forces, with no extension but with action at a distance. Dynamism describes that which exists as simple elements, or for Leibniz, monads, and groups of elements which have only the essence of forces. It was developed as a reaction against the passive view of matter in philosophical mechanism. Interaction between elements takes place without contact, through modes or even harmonics of motion, yielding all phenomena in the Universe.

(thank you, Wikipedia)

Our industry is also filled with many people who might not say the word "dynamism" and have it scratch an itch in the recesses of some philosophy 101 memories (as they have few), so the word is remarkably prevalent. And yet, it isn't ours to use. And yet, there's no good alternative.

This marks one of the few times when the theories of Leibniz run headlong into Cloud Computing. Or perhaps not.... after all, we're all about layers of abstraction.

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