The Arousing of Thought—p13 notes

clownish potpourri of languages

English more than any other language could be described as a clownish potpourri, with its historical tendency to borrow words from everywhere. The pollution of Greek and Armenian with loan words is far more recent, and possibly less severe.

anxious to become Russian intelligentsia

Gurdjieff’s criticism relates to the recent adoption of Russian loan words (and even the use of whole Russian sentences) in Armenian, and the similar bastardization of modern Greek with words from English, French, Italian and Turkish.

Greek and Armenian are both independent Indo-European languages dating back thousands of years, that until recently have remained relatively pure.

“a nail is like a requiem.”

While the comparison is amusing, it may also be appropriate. It depends on how you choose to interpret the words “nail” and “requiem.” A requiem is “a ceremony and prayer for the dead,” implying a memory for something that was once alive. “Nail” might imply “a coffin nail,” or you might even associate to the Holy Nails used to crucify Christ.

wiseacre, wiseacrings

wiseacre, wiseacrings: from 1590s, partial translation of Middle Dutch wijssegger “soothsayer,” probably altered by association with Middle Dutch segger “sayer” from Old High German wizzago “prophet,” from wizzan “to know,” from Proto-Germanic. The deprecatory sense of “one who pretends to know everything” may have come through confusion with obsolete English segger “sayer,” which also had a sense of “braggart” (mid-15c.).


Khaizarian probably refers to


Bastourma is highly seasoned, air-dried cured beef, part of the cuisine of many countries that are part of the Caucasus or the Middle East. According to Turkish scholar Biron Kiliç, the name is derived from the Turkic noun bastırma, which means “pressing.”

Bastourma is made from beef or buffalo meat. The meat is rinsed and salted before being dried and pressed. After the first drying period, the meat is cold pressed for up to 16 hours to remove moisture from the meat. Then the meat is dried for several days, during which the fats melt and form a white layer. There is a second “hot” press. Finally, the dried and pressed meat is covered with a spice paste called çemen, which is made from a paste of ground fenugreek seeds, chilli powder and mashed garlic. The process takes approximately one month.