THE GREEK LANGUAGE - THE DISTINGUISHING FACTOR BETWEEN GREEKS AND BARBARIANS
(Barbarian, Gk fr. barbaros, originally meaning 'one who does not speak Greek, a non-Greek' -Webster's Collegiate Dictionary-)
A lovely cousin of mine who lives in the U.S. asks me if there is a Greek word for "hobby".
Along with my answer, I seize the opportunity to remind the world why it is no longer producing high thought, high literature or anything of humanitarian quality, whilst it is falling apart from an anthropocentric perspective and headed towards a technological/materialistic state that produces unfeeling, smartphone-toting robots who live in a virtual Matrix.
Here is my answer to my cousin, followed by the afterthought which vindicates the question of the title above.
<<Of course, cousin! In fact there are three words for "hobby" and they actually bear a more accurate semantic field than the English word does - the latter just being a sound people seem to have agreed on as to its meaning...
The word is "πάρεργον" (parergon) - παρά του έργου (activity besides work) and my own compilation, which is even more accurate: scholergon "σχόλεργον" = from scholee (σχόλη) = leisure + έργον =task/project. The very word "school" stems from this Greek root, since it was coined in antiquity when the children of the aristocrats could learn things during their "leisure" = 'schole' σχόλη time.... When in Greek we say "Με τί α-σχολήσαι;" (a-schoolise) we are actually saying "with what do you not have leisure?" meaning "what is your line of work?" Therefore, the word σχόλη-'scholee' may also be used to mean 'hobby'.
Hence the Greek verb σχόλασα (schόlasa), "I have just got off work and am free to enjoy leisure"
With this in mind, it is actually an oxymoron to say "σχολάω από το σχολείο..." (I am going to rest after school) since school originally meant "rest/leisure". And even if the notion of "hobby" did not exist among Greeks, the plasticity of the Greek tongue has proven inexhaustible by way of creating diction. How else would we be able to name modern inventions like the telephone, the periscope, the automobile and television if it were not for Greek, which possessed the linguistic elements milennia before these modern concepts themselves! >>
If this world of ours is "going to the dogs," per se, it is so because technology and our "materialistic" culture is developing in climes where, as in the Dark Ages, people no longer delve in the semantics of Greek, the study of which enriched all European languages and Western thought with its civilizing elements - a language through whose philosophical and literary roots served as the impetus that gave birth to the Renaissance, literally meaning "rebirth": the rebirth of scientific and philosophical thought as expressed through Hellenism. The literary masterpieces of the 18th and 19th centuries, whether German, English or French were further attributed to the fervent study of the classics, which served as both a primary source of wisdom and inspiration of beauty.
And when I say people no longer study the axioms within Greek, I am also referring to most native Greek speakers who no longer possess the cultural-linguistic memory to discern the didactic elements of their own language. Perhaps this has always been the case among the masses, the greatest percentage of which is incapable of thoughts beyond their daily troubles.
The Athenian philosopher Antisthenes stated "ΑΡΧΗ ΣΟΦΙΑΣ Η ΤΩΝ ΟΝΟΜΑΤΩΝ ΕΠΙΣΚΕΨΙΣ" = THE PRINCIPLES OF WISDOM ARE TO BE FOUND IN THE STUDY OF WORDS. (Greek words).
English and most European languages still function in a semi-barbaric state, since the large percentage of Greek within them, without which they would cease to function, does not function in derivatives that would enable the non Greek speakers (barbarians) to fully realize what they mean so as to access the didactics and guidance within them.
For instance, without consulting an etymological dictionary a non-greek speaker cannot see the Greek word "oikos" (home) in "ecology" and "economy", or the word "Harmos" (nexus) in "harmony" or "harmonize", much less the myth behind the word which states that we should only link compatible opposites in order to produce harmony rather than the indiscriminate quagmires of multi-cultural societies.
If the world's economies suffer the consequences of mismanagement nowadays, it is largely so because very few are able to discern the name of the Great goddess of punishment Nemesis within the internationally used Greek word ECONOMY. It is coined from oikos = home and nemein = share/distribute. If you do not nemein=distribute your oikos=home wisely and fairly, the great distributor of punishment Nemesis (also from 'nemein') will hand out the analogous punishment.
In other words, only a linguistically-conscious speaker of Greek knows what he/she is talking about.... Literally.
For all its museums hosting great works of the past and the fact that all western languages are imbued with Greek diction, devoid the didactic "memory" within this diction, Western Civilization is dead. For without Memory, as represented by the mother of the nine Muses (hence "museum," "to muse" and "music") Mnemosyne, there can be no substance in anything. In lack of cultural substance, the void is filled by parasites that thrive in a decaying carcass. The Islamization of the Old Continent and the alarmingly declining birthrate of its indigenous people is testimonial to the blight in absence of cultural/linguistic memory.
Throw into that the all but absent notion of the word Eros in the West, which in Greek functions as a verb and many other forms, with a semantic field encompassing the very quintessence of life, and we have an entity/civilization "whose heart has never learned how to beat," as Freud once stated in his his work psychoanalyzing an ailing western world...!