Oct 18, 2007

Rapid Rhetoric: OMPHALOSKEPSIS

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Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

omphaloskepsis (ahm-fell-oh-SKEP-sis) n. the act of gazing at one's own navel in order to aid meditation; excessive self-absorption or inward focus.

The word omphaloskepsis is a fairly recent combination of the Greek words omphalos (“navel") and skepsis (“the act of looking"). Typically the term is used in a derogatory fashion to describe someone who is inordinately self-focused.

I have been unable to locate a meditative tradition in which navel-gazing is a proscribed technique, but if you learn of such a spiritual custom, feel free to leave a link in the comments section of this post. You can also leave stuffed animals if you can figure out how to get them into the computer.

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