Etymology of politics

how to deal with existential fear - The Scream painted by Edvard MunchWhat do “political” and “politics” mean to you? Can you identify yourself with one of these two common statements?

  • “I don’t get involved in politics. What could I do, anyway?
  • Politics are the job of politicians. That’s what we vote and pay them for.”

Even people who’ve never been “interested in politics” their whole life have lately joined the discussion. Global crises of all sorts and uprisings, which in the past may have only “happened to others”, knocked at our front doors and entered our homes unbidden. And if they haven’t yet, maybe they will, soon…

Fear is contagious – and fear is the worst consultant ever. Fear shuts down the thinking part of our brain by triggering the Fight-or-Flight response, spiralling us back into an animal state of uncontrollable emotion and instinct.

But there is an alternative to surrendering to fear: Taking responsibility for ourselves.

Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.

La Discussion Politique - The Political Discussion (painting by Emile Friant)The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

Do we fear taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions more than everything else?

Or, perhaps, avoidance of personal responsibility married with a self-serving attitude, cheating, lying, blaming others are the root causes of the problems we experience today?

Does that mean you must become a political person now? No. You already are – we all are, every single one of us, may we like it or not.

Definition of “political” and “politics”

Two excerpts from different online dictionaries:


  1. of or relating to politics or government
  2. interested in or active in politics
  3. involving, concerned with, or accused of acts against a government
  4. relating to the things people do to gain or keep power or an advantage within a group, organization, etc.

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

George Bernard Shaw


  1. a. The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.
    b. Political science.
  2. a. The activities or affairs engaged in by a government, politician, or political party
    b. The methods or tactics involved in managing a state or government
  3. Political life
  4. Intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power
  5. Political attitudes and positions
  6. The often internally conflicting interrelationships among people in a society.
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