Enthusiasm: Wikis

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A crowd shows enthusiastic approval for a live band in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Enthusiasm originally meant inspiration or possession by a divine afflatus or by the presence of a god. Johnson's Dictionary, the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language, defines enthusiasm as "a vain belief of private revelation; a vain confidence of divine favour or communication." In current English vernacular the word simply means intense enjoyment, interest, or approval.

Contents

Historical usage

Originally, an enthusiast was a person possessed by a god. Applied by the Greeks to manifestations of divine possession, by Apollo (as in the case of the Pythia), or by Dionysus (as in the case of the Bacchantes and Maenads), the term enthusiasm was also used in a transferred or figurative sense. Socrates taught that the inspiration of poets is a form of enthusiasm.

Its uses were confined to a belief in religious inspiration, or to intense religious fervour or emotion. Thus, a Syrian sect of the 4th century was known as the Enthusiasts. They believed that "by perpetual prayer, ascetic practices and contemplation, man could become inspired by the Holy Spirit, in spite of the ruling evil spirit, which the fall had given to him". From their belief in the efficacy of prayer, they were also known as Euchites.

Several Protestant sects of the 16th and 17th centuries were called enthusiastic. During the years that immediately followed the Glorious Revolution, "enthusiasm" was a British pejorative term for advocacy of any political or religious cause in public. Such "enthusiasm" was seen in the time around 1700 as the cause of the previous century's English Civil War and its attendant atrocities, and thus it was an absolute social sin to remind others of the war by engaging in enthusiasm. The Royal Society bylaws stipulated that any person discussing religion or politics at a Society meeting was to be summarily ejected for being an "enthusiast." During the 18th century, popular Methodists such as John Wesley or George Whitefield were accused of blind enthusiasm (i.e. fanaticism).

Modern usage

In contemporary usage, enthusiasm has lost its meaning that some is over excited and interrerible.

The Enthusiast also refers to the "Type Seven" personality type (not to be confused with the "Type Three"/"Type A" personality) (Daniels & Price 2000). Some who fall into this modern definition of "enthusiasts" are adventurous, constantly busy with many activities with all the energy and enthusiasm of the Puer Aeternus (Peter Pan Complex). At their best they grab life for its different joys and wonders and truly live in the moment but, at their worst, they dash trepidatiously from one new endeavor to another, too scared of disappointment to actually enjoy themselves. Enthusiasts fear being incapable to provide for themselves or to experience life in all of its paint chips.

The term is sometimes used to describe the demeanor of fans of various activities or organizations, ranging from hunting aficionadoes to wine lovers.

Enthusiasm definition-eager liking or interest. Enthusiast definition-a person who is full of enthusiasm for something

See also

References

  • Daniels, M.D., D.; Price, PhD, V. (2000), The Essential Enneagram, New York: HarperCollins  

Further reading

  • Ronald Knox. Enthusiasm. Oxford: The Clarendon Press
  • John Locke. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. vol. 2. New York: Dover Publications
  • Susie Tucker. Enthusiasm: A Study in Semantic Change. London: Cambridge University Press

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Enthusiasm (Greek: enthousiasmos) originally meant inspiration or possession by a divine afflatus or by the presence of a God. Johnson's Dictionary, the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language, divines enthusiasm as "a vain belief of private revelation; a vain confidence of divine favour or communication." In current English vernacular the word simply means intense enjoyment, interest, or approval.

Contents

Sourced

  • Whenever the true objects of action appear, they are to be heartily sought. Enthusiasm is the height of man; it is the passing from the human to the divine.
  • The Greeks have given us one of the most beautiful words of our language, the word "enthusiasm" — a God within. The grandeur of the acts of men are measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a God within.
    • Louis Pasteur, as quoted in Spiritual Literacy : Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life (1998) by Frederic Brussat and Mary Ann Brussat
  • There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment. ... It gives warmth and good feeling to all your personal relationships.
    • Norman Vincent Peale, as quoted in Spiritual Literacy : Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life (1998) by Frederic Brussat and Mary Ann Brussat

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Enthusiasm is the element of success in every thing. It is the light that leads, and the strength that lifts men on and up in the great struggles of scientific pursuits and of professional labor. It robs endurance of difficulty, and makes a pleasure of duty.
    • Bishop Doane, p. 208.
  • Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm.
  • Those who have arrived at any very eminent degree of excellence in the practice of an art or profession have commonly been actuated by a species of enthusiasm in their pursuit of it. They have kept one object in view amidst all the vicissitudes of time and fortune.
  • In the whole range of human vision, nothing is more attractive than to see a young^ man full of promise and of hope, bending all his energies in the direction of truth and duty and God, his soul pervaded with the loftiest enthusiasm, and his life consecrated to the noblest ends. To be such a young man is to rival the noblest and best of men in heroic valor and Christian chivalry. Nay, to be such a young man is to be like Christ, the highest type, the most illustrious example of enthusiasm the world has ever seen.
    • John McClellan Holmes, p. 208.
  • Be not afraid of enthusiasm; you need it; you can do nothing effectually without it.
    • François Guizot, p. 209.
  • Depend upon it, my younger brethren, the bright, self-sacrificing enthusiasms of early manhood are among the most precious things in the whole course of human life.
    • Henry Parry Liddon, p. 209.

Unsourced

  • Let us recognize the beauty and power of true enthusiasm; and whatever we may do to enlighten ourselves and others, guard against checking or chilling a single earnest sentiment.
    • Tuckerman
  • Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm; it moves stones, it charms brutes. Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes no victories without it.
    • Lytton
  • The most enthusiastic man in a cause is rarely chosen as a leader.
    • Arthur Helps
  • Let us beware of losing our enthusiasms. Let us ever glory in something, and strive to retain our admiration for all that would ennoble, and our interest in all that would enrich and beautify our life.

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ENTHUSIASM, a word originally meaning inspiration by a divine afflatus or by the presence of a god. The Gr. iveovaeavµos, from which the word is adapted, is formed from the verb ivOovoleqcv, to be EvOeos, possessed by a god (Nos). Applied by the Greeks to manifestations of divine "possession," by Apollo, as in the case of the Pythia, or by Dionysus, as in the case of the Bacchantes and Maenads, it was also used in a transferred or figurative sense; thus Socrates speaks of the inspiration of poets as a form of enthusiasm (Plato, Apol. Soc. 22 e). Its uses, in a religious sense, are confined to an exaggerated or wrongful belief in religious inspiration, or to intense religious fervour or emotion. Thus a Syrian sect of the 4th century was known as "the Enthusiasts"; they believed that by perpetual prayer, ascetic practices and contemplation, man could become inspired by the Holy Spirit, in spite of the ruling evil spirit, which the fall had given to him. From their belief in the efficacy of prayer (eirxr t), they were also known as Euchites. In ordinary usage, "enthusiasm" has lost its peculiar religious significance, and means a whole-hearted devotion to an ideal, cause, study or pursuit; sometimes, in a depreciatory sense, it implies a devotion which is partisan and is blind to difficulties and objections. (See further INSPIRATION, for a comparison of the religious meanings of "enthusiasm," "ecstasy" and "fanaticism.")


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