Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Inspire or die

While reading my Animal Anatomy lesson recently I re-discovered a word: inspiration.

We all know that respiration is breathing in and out (and the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs), but one half of that process, to breathe in and take oxygen into your bloodstream is called inspiration. The second half of the process is expiration: the breathing out of carbon dioxide.

Inspiration and expiration. These are words we know and use every day, but with very different meanings. Inspiration is something that stimulates us to act; while we might check the expiration date on the milk in the fridge. How did we get from breathing in and out to stimulate and die (expire)?

Etymology (the history of words) is something that has interested me before on odd occasions; I remember when my mum told me that 'in her day', something that was terrific was actually very scary - it was terrifying! And during my childhood the use of 'bad' became good (thanks to Michael Jackson) and now 'sick' means awesome, so in a few more decades I won't understand a word people are saying.

At that point I may as well revert to ye olde English so no-one can understand me either. I can sit and watch the sunset whilst inspiring and expiring to the view.

So next time you are looking for inspiration to strike you, remember, just breathe, and you are inspired! And when you breathe out, you have expired... oh well. Inspiration and death apparently go hand in hand.

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