Meanings: “Grit”

August 25, 2011 (updated below)

Jonah Lehrer, who writes The Frontal Cortex for Wired magazine, gave a Convocation address at Earlham on Monday.  (He also wrote the books How We Decide and Proust was a Neuroscientist.)

Here’s a snippet of what he told the students about the meaning and importance of “grit.”  As you’ll see, he argues “love is the opposite of underwear,” and understanding why is important in setting a course in life.

Update:  Here’s what the Online Etymology Dictionary says about the origin of “grit:”

grit (n.) Look up grit at Dictionary.com

O.E. greot “sand, dust, earth, gravel,” from P.Gmc. *greutan “tiny particles of crushed rock” (cf. O.S. griot, O.Fris. gret, O.N. grjot “rock, stone,” Ger. Grieß “grit, sand”), from PIE *ghreu- “rub, grind” (cf. Lith. grudas “corn, kernel,” O.C.S. gruda “clod”). Sense of “pluck, spirit” first recorded Amer.Eng. 1808.

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About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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