Protologism: Ignomatic

Monday, September 5th, 2011 at 10:48 am
by Borg

Ignomatic [adjective or adverb]: Description of a type of behaviour that is acquired by imitation, sustained by habit, with an origin to which the practitioner is perfectly oblivious.  Combination or ignorance (gnosis=knowledge) and the ending –matic (=willing) common to words such as automatic, pragmatic or dogmatic. Ignomatic behaviour would have in common with dogmatic behaviour that it is unquestioned, but as opposed to the latter it lacks a (to the subject)  conscious motive or origin. “Mechanical” is often used to describe this type of unconscious behaviour, but  ignomatic behaviour does not presuppose lack of awareness of the behaviour itself, only the motive behind it. (Moreover, I find “mechanical” being an inappropriate use of machine language to describe mind/purpose generated behaviour.)  Rituals can be performed in a lucid state of awareness but still lack genuine purpose.

I have been looking for a word to capture this for years and I have not found one.

Who does know what the Easter bunny has got to do with the Crucifixion, what “OK” means, why we shake hands or spend weeks of our lives watching nappy commercials when our days are numbered?

Some days I think most of human life is ignomatic.

4 Responses to “Protologism: Ignomatic”

  1. Guy Says:

    The easter bunny and the resurrection of Jesus both mean the re-birth of life and fertility in springtime. Google suggestion on the origin of OK: We shake hands to prove that we are not carrying a sword (that's the origin anyway).

    Can't help you with the nappy commercials one, that's just plain stupid.

    I agree that most of what we do is indeed ignomatic. 'Human beings seek to stabilise their experience at way below the optimal' – RD Laing ((mis)-quoted from memory).

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