c. 1600, from French enthousiasme (16c.) and directly from Late Latin enthusiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos “divine inspiration, enthusiasm (produced by certain kinds of music, etc.),” from enthousiazein “be inspired or possessed by a god, be rapt, be in ecstasy,” from entheos “divinely inspired, possessed by a god,” from en “in” (see en- (2)) + theos “god” (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts).
I have been lucky enough to be enthusiastic about a lot of things in my life. Writing, reading, bringing up our kids, playing my sax, riding fast bikes, climbing hills, speaking on stages, driving my trucks.
I am now becoming increasingly enthusiastic about just being. Not doing things, just being.
2 thoughts on “Enthusiasm”
Huh. I had no idea that “enthusiasm” came from a root meaning “in god”.
My sense, from a lifetime of observation, is that wild creatures, except in rare moments of acute stress, move back and forth between two states that I’ve called ‘equanimity’ and ‘enthusiasm’. Humans, alas, not so. But maybe I need to come up with another word instead of enthusiasm. Can’t find one though: I’m looking for a word that describes a mix of joy, alertness and playfulness that adult humans don’t seem to experience much, though I can often see it in young children.
The best I can manage in moments of ‘just being’ is equanimity. But it’ll do.
I’ve become more comfortable with the word and it’s origins as I’ve replaced the beardy guy in the sky with “life and the energy that sustains it.”