The Theory of Apostrophe
Initially, I was looking up the etymology of the word, theory. Here is my takeaway from that exercise in semiotics:
Theory = תורת = Torat in Hebrew
Theory of Truth = תורת אמת = Torat Emet = Epistemology
Now compare Torat to Torah:
Torah = תורה = Customary System of Guidance
The difference between Torah (תורה) and Theory (תורת) is closing the gap in the final letter, changing the ה (Heh, the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet) to ת (Tav, the twenty-second and last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet).
Umberto Eco says, "Whereof we cannot express a theory, we must narrate a story instead."
The stories of Torah are not completely learned until one has apprehended and deeply understood the stories and extracted the deeper underlying theory. There is an unspoken notion here that, buried in the stories of Torah, there resides an underlying theoretical system of guidance, kind of like "rocket science" for human journeys through life.
Now compare "Rabbi" with "Rival" and "Rebel" ...
Great = רב = Rav
Rabbi = רבי = My Master
Rival = יריב = Yariv = Adversary, Opponent, Contender, Antagonist, Rebel
Satan = שטן = Adversary, Fiend
The Devil is in the details: Be ye not misled or deceived.
Sometimes we learn gladly from the Master, and sometimes we resist or oppose the subtle persuasions of the would-be teacher, thereby setting up a contentious antagonism.
The difference between Rabbi (רבי) and Rival (יריב) is in the details. The little י (Hebrew "Yod" which looks very much like our Apostrophe) is the tiny iota of difference that makes a difference.
In English, we use an Apostrophe to skip over some bits that can be safely left out.
In Greek Theater, "Apostrophe" is a stage direction where the Protagonist has a thought, notion, or emotion that he keeps to himself, without communicating it openly to the Antagonist. "Apostrophe" in Greek Theater means the actor "turns aside" to face the Greek Chorus to disclose, sotto voce, the otherwise unspoken thought, notion, or emotion that is being withheld from the spoken dialogue with the Antagonist. This corresponds to a "thought balloon" in the comics.
|Train wreck at Montparnasse Station, at Place de Rennes, Paris, France, 1895.|
Have you ever said aloud something that it would have been better to keep to yourself, for the sake of preserving the peaceable continuity of the illuminating dialogue?
I make that mistake all the time. I never quite know when it's wiser and safer to keep my mouth shut.
Indeed, this very blog post could be one of those times.