Recently, I have been looking for a word to capture the following cluster of qualities:
It's a cluster which has, I believe, more impact on your life than any other facet of your personality. If you have it, the decisions you make generally lead to a continually improving quality of life. If you missed out, your decisions are likely to contribute to progressive failure.
Most people would simply call it 'common sense', but this term isn't quite precise. For instance, there are reams of common-sensisms which everybody knows, but few people practise (for example, criticism is not persuasive). Secondly, it doesn't represent the fundamental role of conscience and empathy - the reciprocal 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you' part. And thirdly, as a phrase rather than a single word, you can't really negate it which makes it cumbersome to use.
I couldn't find the right word, so I did what any wannabe linguist would do - I made up a new one: Extraspection.Extraspection
We already have introspection (looking inward) and extrospection (looking outward), and I've combined the prefix extra- (beyond) to make extraspection, which I've given the following definition:
Observation of circumstance in a wider context, beyond immediate and personal consequence.
This differs from extrospection in that it includes introspection, and also has a temporal nature. You might say introspection + extrospection = extraspection.
The only problem with my new word is that it doesn't have the intuitive aspect. Extraspection seems to be a rare quality, whereas the word I was looking for was meant to be a widespread quality. But the more I think about it the more I think that perhaps that's just the way it is.
Hope you like the new word. I'm now looking for a word to mean 'pervasive throughout history'. I'm sure it's out there...
Roger Keays is an artist, an engineer, and a student of life. Since he left Australia in 2009, he has been living as a digital nomad in over 40 different countries around the world. Roger is addicted to surfing. His other interests are music, psychology, languages, and finding good food. Click here to subscribe to his weekly blog, or stalk him on Facebook and Twitter.
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