I figured why not vicariously coruscate readers with a post based on a word of my own. They tell me two words are better than one – how about basing my article on two words. Make it a writing prompt of sorts. And see what turns up. Why not?
Merriam Webster defines pinnacle as:
The highest point of development or achievement
What an inspiring word. If there is a word that can win an award for motivating people, this has to be a strong contender.
The pinnacle is an elusive destination in almost every sphere. Because one cannot master most fields. Jeff Meckstroth, arguably the best bridge player in the world, said in an interview that he gets better at the game with each passing day. The bridge forum and website bridgewinners.com occasionally hosts an ask-me-anything where they invite a famous bridge personality and the public can ask them any question for a day. Jeff Meckstroth was the guest in one of the editions. I took the opportunity and asked Meckstroth, “How did you go from being an expert player to achieving mastery at the game?” Meckstroth’s answer:
I could only wish to master this game, I continue to strive to improve.
Wow. Just wow. If one of the best players to play the game can make this statement, then mastery is an unreachable destination. Nevertheless, a student of the game must strive to attain this destination knowing that it is not attainable. To achieve excellence, which is attainable.
And what about the pinnacle of human life, liberation? Unlike bridge or tennis, masters have achieved this pinnacle of human existence – liberation. Now that offers more encouragement – pursuing a goal which we can attain.
Merriam Webster defines pinnacle as:
Made, evolved, or developed a long time ago
And here is the example sentence they give from an article that appeared recently in the web:
As in years past, the program draws from some of the moment’s shiniest pop stars, including Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Charlie Puth, and Demi Lovato, along with the antediluvian Backstreet Boys.—The New Yorker, 18 Nov. 2022
All right, antediluvian is simply a fancy way of saying ‘old’. If you want to impress the people you don’t like, don’t say old car, say antediluvian car. If you want to sound intelligent at a pompous dinner party, this is the perfect word for you. It has a wise, erudite ring to it – antediluvian. Say it aloud once – you know you want to.
As with anything old, antediluvian has negative connotations. Indeed, people want the new, and want to get rid of the old. But old is gold, as cliches go.
This word got me thinking about Indian scriptures and the Vedas. Antediluvian. Yet timeless wisdom. Applicable even today. Necessary especially today. We, as a society, have more comforts than ever but experience deep dissatisfaction. The Vedas tell is that happiness is our birthright. We are happiness. I have an increasing list of skills I want to learn and get better at – online writing being one key example – but somewhere at the top is the desire to learn Sanskrit. So that I can experience and enjoy our antediluvian scriptures in their original form.
Pinnacle and Antediluvian
I didn’t choose these two words at random.
These were two of the words my wife @durgz learned when she was in college. Eager to employ them, she promptly included them in her blog. (As an aside, the technique she used is a great way to commit new words to memory – use them in sentences.) When we got married, she told me about her blog, and how she used these two words.
Now, that should be the end of the story with most people.
Not me. These two words got a life of their own in our household. When I came across either of these two words (mostly pinnacle, rarely antediluvian, when was the last time you saw antediluvian used in a sentence? Did you even know such a word existed? I did not), I would excitedly point it out.
I installed a vocabulary app on my phone. (I got rid of it when I realized that big words were a liability for online writing, rather than a benefit.) But when I saw the word antediluvian, I had to take a screenshot of it. Here it is:
Good luck trying to come up with a conclusion for an article based on two disconnected random words.
But I’ve gotten this far, what do I lose by trying my hand at takeaways:
- Strive for excellence, to reach the pinnacle. The pinnacle of any material field. The pinnacle of existence.
- The Vedas contain timeless wisdom
- Articles can come out of anywhere and everywhere. You just have to take a leap of faith and start writing.
- If you want to complain that I’ve wasted your time with this article, I’ve changed my name, I’ve changed my address, my email address will bounce, I have a new disguise, I …
Image Credit: Tyrel Johnson from Unsplash