Monday, September 24, 2007

Word of the week: dietrologia

Our word of the week, dietrologia (DYET-troh-loh-GEE-ah) is a fairly recent entry in Italian vocabulary, only a few decades old. It literally means "behindology," but (no pun intended) is not a synonym for "proctology."

The word, which is often used with skepticism and even derision, describes the mental habits of the practicioner of this non-science, the dietrologo. It is he (it usually is a he) who regularly sees something behind events as they are presented. In our own native land, we often call this "paranoia."

Yes, it is no coincidence that the celebrated Ockham's razor was put forth by an Englishman and not an Italian. But before you get all superior about your supposed rationality, remember the famous saying of another well-known Brit, which has become the description (paraphrased) of my blog. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Ole Ockham may be fine when accounting for scientific phenomena, but people and their behavior are something else. Especially in Italy.