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Home » Dave’s DiegesesJune 2006 » Dave’s Diegesis: Zetetic Shtick

Dave’s Diegesis: Zetetic Shtick

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
                    Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
                    For promis’d joy!
Robert Burns

Welcome back, diegesians! I apologize for the paucity of posts lately, but I can assure you the reason is worthy. My NESN colleagues (yes, you read that correctly!) Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy spilled the beans already, but I am returning to NESN as an analyst.

I’ve always wondered about that saying, “spill the beans.” The folk etymology of the cliche detailed at The Maven at Words@Random is, as all fictive origin tales are, quaint. Secret societies in ancient Greece supposedly voted on potential initiates by placing beans into a jar; black for “no” and white for “yes.” Said beans were surreptitiously placed into the jar to keep the vote anonymous. Inevitably, as Greeks were inveterate drunkards, especially members of these conclaves, someone knocked over a jar, revealing the secret and thus spilling the beans.

And you thought the voting for the presidential voting for the past two elections were irregular.

Ancient Greek groups are the origin of many a peculiar and rarely used word. “Zetetic” is an elaborate way to say “inquisitive ” or “investigative.” This is exactly the posture I will bring to my analysis of Red Sox baseball this weekend: acute analysis and unrelenting rigor.

As a compelling side note, there is a Zetetics Laboratory at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in France. They offer a cash prize to anyone that can offer proof of the paranormal, as the James Randi Educational Foundation does.

I’m eager to enjoy the epicurean delights of the ballpark again. Sadly, the common usage of  “epicure,” which refers to a person who delights in sensual delectation, particularly food and drink, has drifted far from what the sage Epicurus instructed. Epicureanism stressed the neutrality of higher powers such as gods and theorized matter was comprised of atoms; the later was brought over from the school of Democritus. Epicurus’s school, The Garden, was diverse, including both slaves and women. The meaning of “epicure” distorted throughout the ages because the philosopher’s tenets were to achieve mental ease (ataraxia) and freedom from bodily pain (aponia). Sensual desires were not to be sublimated but encouraged to the extent that they are satisfied, although not overly so.

But this leniency towards gratification was misinterpreted and extrapolated to profligacy, quite contrary to Epicurus’s original intent. During my stint at NESN, however, I hope to abide by the germinal beliefs of the Epicureans and hopefully deliver analysis that is simultaneously ataraxic and aponic.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site.

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