The Son of the last of a long line of thinkers. (delascabezas) wrote,
The Son of the last of a long line of thinkers.

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mental droppings

I just used the word necropolis in a day to day conversation. The person I used it in conversation with had no idea what it meant. It made me feel a bit out of place. After leaving the conversation, I started thinking about my use of the word on my way back to the office. ...

ne·crop·o·lis Pronunciation Key (n-krp-ls, n-)
n. pl. ne·crop·o·lis·es or ne·crop·o·leis (-ls)

A cemetery, especially a large and elaborate one belonging to an ancient city.

[Greek nekropolis : nekro-, necro- + polis, city; see pel-3 in Indo-European Roots.]

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

\Ne*crop"o*lis\, n.; pl. Necropolises. [NL., fr. Gr. ?; ? a dead body, adj., dead + ? city.] A city of the dead; a name given by the ancients to their cemeteries, and sometimes applied to modern burial places; a graveyard.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

necropolis n : a tract of land used for burials [syn: cemetery, graveyard, burial site, burial ground, burying ground]
Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University

I never knew that a necropolis could mean a dead body. However, I've always had a much more morbid musing on the word than the rather simple definitions below suggest. I mean, the idea of a "city of the dead" certainly is image evoking. Who built it, for instance? If there are that many people that can support an engineering/architecture project specifically for the dead, don't you think you'd find another way to dispose of the leftovers? I guess some cultures religions venerate the dead to the point where such labors of life in worship of death would be seen as appropriate (i.e. ancient Egypt), but what do we know about them? Everything we learn about them, we learn from the city they built for their deceased, as their cities are long reduced to rubble, then built over.

City of the dead has always made me think of a skyline of crypts and sarcophagi. Of overgrown shrines, and cracked headstones. A smell of heavy perfume to cover up the cabbagey ripeness of decay, and a heavy covering of green to try and erase the underlying tones of all the grey from the stone and the death. Necropolis echoes to me a thought of a parasitic living culture leeching off the grandeur of a tower of Babel to the dead.

All this imagery, why the hell did I use it to refer to a big pile of out-of-use monitors?

I think that perhaps morbidity has become so ingrained in my perspective that it is like a light filter for a photographer. Life without the glare and intensity to eliminate the shadows becomes too dull. Looking at a vista without the grainy focus of a wide angle lens steals something from the breathtaking capabilities of a scene. I can't look at much without thinking about the inevitability of time and decay. Perhaps I read too many Raistilin stories at an impressionable age. I don't believe in the inevitability of events, but I am a staunch supporter of the inevitability of time. Over a long enough timeline, the human survival ratio drops to zero. Something like that (a la fight club).

What does that have to do with Technical directors who don't know multisylabic nouns from an eschew chunk of the language we breathe day in and out?

Not a damn thing, but it keeps the wheels in my head greased, and I guess that's about all I can ask for on a day like today.

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