Sage Advice 9: The Spanish

Spanish is a beautiful language. It’s difficult to understand and the Spanish sound like they’re always doing an impression of Ice-T, but it’s a joy to hear. An interesting word in Spanish is the verb form of extinct—to become extinct. It’s extinguirse. The reason why that’s so interesting is because the se at the end of the word makes it reflexive. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the concept, it just means that the subject connected to that verb does that verb to itself. For example: in Spanish, the dinosaurs extincted themselves.

I think the Spanish language is really onto to something with this philosophy. I’m sure the 15th and 16th century Spanish explorers used this linguistic loophole to their advantage. “We’re not slaughtering the Mayans,” Cortez may have asserted. “They’re choosing to become extinct by letting us rape and murder them.”

What an incredible way to look at any kind of relationship. If you wrong someone, isn’t it more like they let you wrong them? If you set your neighbor’s house on fire, isn’t it his fault for even having a house that’s flammable?

Blamelessness is the key to innocence. If you can figure out how to make all of your wrongs and blunders become the fault of everyone other than yourself, you’ll always be in the right.


-Matthew Fugere

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