Looking at the origin and history of words can be a fascinating way to ponder reality. Do the words we choose and use represent what we really want to convey? Of course, language evolves and often it seems like words fly out of mouths, or flow as fast as letters are typed on a keyboard without much thought to their effect – or the lasting digital imprint.
There is always much ado about content! People desire to be heard, get a point across, and promote new messages, but quite possibly at the expense of context.
Even though I know the meaning of both words – content and context – I looked them up. I learned their Latin origins and found new insight.
Content comes from contentum which means “things contained.” Context comes con (together) and texere (to weave).
This is where pondering reality comes in.
It can be easy to miss the mark in providing excellent context. I know in casual conversation and in writing, I can forget to frame content with consideration for heart and soul. Now, I have a renewed since of mission on this. What a little etymology can do. I want my “things contained” to be woven together honoring the intrinsic values that are necessary for meaningful interpretation.
Context powers understanding.
All this makes me think of a St. Francis of Assisi quote who yearned to bring context — if not purpose – to the work of fellow friars in the 13th century. He said, “We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.” Words, too, can heal, unite and bring home those who have lost their way. Good context offers a bigger picture.
Lynette Magnino As a free lance writer for almost 20 years and a communications professional within corporate and non-profit environments for the better part of 35 years, I put words to paper, tell stories and convey messages. Feature stories, press releases, brochures, newsletters, scripts, proposals, business plans and many other creative media represent the breadth of my "product" provided for healthcare services, educational systems, boards and associations, and faith/ministry organizations.