Art, Trade & Life

Carmen González Castro Sola

Those of us who love to dive into the primordial soup of words in search for answers, we sometimes run the risk of getting stuck on words, on the literality. This is a bit paradoxical because there is nothing like knowing the exact meaning of words to avoid misunderstandings. However, and that is the history of mankind, we live in interpretative worlds of our own and we tend to see things based on our life experience. Words are not exempt from this typically human feature and we are used to interpreting words in a figurative and broader sense. Either because of ignorance or convenience, the thing is that we would rather say that typical sentence “I understand what you mean” when we should really say: “I understand what you mean based on what those words mean to me and, luckily, they might mean the same to you”. Understanding each other is a bunch of coincidences which everyone takes in as true and common.

With this little introduction done —of which I can only hope someone may take in as true and common—, I will go deep into the meaning of three words which, in my opinion, are linked to each other: arts, trade and life. ‘Trade’ comes from Middle Low German ‘trada‘ meaning ‘track’, ‘path’, ‘course’. The word ‘art’ comes from Latin ‘ars, artis‘, which seems to derive from the Indo-European ‘ar‘, meaning ‘to fit together’. On the other hand, ‘life’ comes from the Latin ‘vita‘ and has its origin in the root ‘gwei‘, which comes from Indo-European. The Greek words ‘bio‘ (life) and ‘zoon‘ (animal, living being) derive from ‘gwei’.

So, if we agree to define life as “the essential activity or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings”, then the link between art, trade and life is clear. Life is a path, a trade, an art. Learning the trade of life is the art of being human.

Michael Thallium

Global & Greatness Coach
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