[lit-ideas] Re: A Service Profession

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 15:56:19 EDT

In a message dated 6/26/2009 3:15:26 P.M.  Eastern Daylight Time,
atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:
I dunno.  (JL would  probably say
the "I" is otiose, but if you knew me, you'd say that the  "dunno" is
otiose.)  I'm not a philosopher.  I sometimes wonder  why heat seeks out
cold, but I soon get bored and start whittling.  No  service to mankind

[a. OF. servise, service, also  servige, serviche (mod.F. service), ad. L.
servitium, f. servus slave. Cf. Pr.  servizi, servis, Sp. servicio, Pg.
serviço, It. servizio, servigio.

The ref. to Heraclitus ('why heat seeks out cold') is good. And also, I 
hope, the etym. of 'service' out of 'servus', slave.

So, philosophically and etymologically, no, philosophy is not a service 

Though perhaps to go the whole hog and say it's unserviceable may be a  bit.

Oddly, 'unserviceable' _means_ otiose (Latin, 'nec-otium', business, bad
for your health)

J. L.


Of persons: Unable to be of service; not rendering service or help;

1598 HAKLUYT Voy. I. 240 You haue too much liuing, and are vnseruiceable to
 your prince, lesse will serue you. 1614 W. B. Philosophers Banquet (ed. 2)
121  One that would be vnseruiceable to him, and vnprofitable to the
Commonwealth.  1655 Nicholas Papers (Camden) II. 217, I did long since tell you
that poore man  would be made onseruiceable to you. 1856 KANE Arct. Expl. II.
i. 13 Our sick are  about the same;..McGary and Riley unserviceable. 1865
DICKENS Mut. Fr. III. ii,  I am an unserviceable friend of hers.
b. spec. Not capable  of rendering military (or naval) service.

1596 SPENSER State Irel. Wks. (Globe) 653/2 The rebells..will turne away
all theyr rascall people, whom they thinke unserviceable. 1601 SHAKES. All's
Well IV. iii. 152 Fiue or sixe thousand, but very weake and vnseruiceable:
the  troopes are all scattered. 1681 LUTTRELL Brief Rel. (1857) I. 151 Poor
souldiers  rendred unserviceable by age, wounds, &c. 1786 BURKE Art. agst.
W. Hastings  Wks. 1842 II. 191 The country troops..would be ill-disciplined
and  unserviceable, if not worse. 1834 MARRYAT P. Simple I. 124 Some of them
were  retained, but most of them sent on shore as unserviceable. 1881 JOWETT
Thucyd.  I. 146 The Plataeans had already conveyed to Athens their
wives,..with the rest  of their unserviceable population.
transf. 1867 SMYTH Sailor's Word-bk. 707  Unserviceable ticket; this is
made out in the same manner, and requires the same  notations, as a sick-ticket.
3. Marked by disinclination  to be of service.

1614 RALEIGH Hist. World V. vi. 657 Such men of note..as had any way
discouered an vnseruiceable disposition towards the  Romans.
4. Prejudicial, disadvantageous.

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