At the source of the words

Andrea Marcolongo
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99 words to reclaim the world.

99 words to find a voice that otherwise is in danger of becoming too feeble and lost amid the haste and sloppiness of this new century of ours.

99 words to rebel against the confusion and darkness that overwhelm us when we remain mute in the face of the present.

99 words to find ourselves.

Andrea Marcolongo chose his personal 99 words. And of each of them, with elegance and lightness and at the same time infinite care, he reconstructs the journey.

Words are our way of thinking about the world, the means we have to define what is around us and thus, inevitably, to define ourselves. Every time we choose a word we give order to chaos, we give contours and body to the real, every time we utter a word it is a reflection of us. He reveals. Without language we would only grope discomposedly in confusion, unable to tell reality and what we feel. This is precisely why of words we must take extreme care. They are a garden to be cultivated with patience every day, to be kept fertile and alive, down to its roots.

But how do we take care of words? First of all, by reclaiming their history, precisely, their roots, their original meanings, following the journey that a term has taken to reach us, following the shades of meaning, the shifts that over the centuries and through places it has undergone, thus reconstructing the history of us and of our reading and representing the world. Far from sterile and an end in itself, then, is the art of reconstructing etymologies. It is lens to focus on who we have been, who we are. And who we want to be.

How far did a word travel before it reached us? Where did it start from? How many places has it touched by influencing other languages and how much has it in turn been modified? Perhaps there is no better lesson than that offered by words, by their nature “traveling,” which of movement and mixture have always made a reason for survival.