Wednesday, 19 September 2012


I bring no dictionary definition of the word Awesome. This is deliberate. Despite multiple dry definitions across a number of literary sources, not one comes close to capturing the sheer magnitude of what this word has come to resemble.

It is an adjective that has moved beyond the concept of the mere ‘awe’ that serves as its linguistic root, and has come to mean something broader that makes the universe better in a way we approve of, or perhaps narrower, no longer being applicable to the kind of thing that would make one tremble with the fear-driven form of awe. A barrel of a tank pointed at a live human being may strike awe, but in no way is it awesome.

Sure, it's opinion. Yet it is with this realization that I’ve started noticing the unique list of ingredients used by so many people when pronouncing this word.
It’s not just the ever-positive context.
There are two cups of gut-wrenching emotion in the use of this word. Three pints of having received inspiration. A small Everest-top of an achievement that using it directly points to. An implicit acknowledgement of the responsible party. A statement that reads “I care”, that also reads “I matter” between the lines (as some like-minded T-shirts spell out, "I support X, and I VOTE.").
And there's an attribution of value to something. An admittance that this has meaning in life.

Best of all – using it demonstrates a desire to share this entire compendium of values with a fellow human being. We don’t say “awesome” to ourselves in our head. We say it to the person standing next to us. Awesome comes with its own built-in viral growth engine.

Its vibe comes from sanctifying something with our attitude. Be it an item or a song, an action or an outcome, this word is our way to tell the people around us that this thing has just made the universe one notch better by being.

Awesome is an entire belief system conveniently packaged in this one word. It needs no holy books or sacred places. It is omni-applicable. It may well be the most practiced religion in our world today.

This would have been an interesting semantic observation, had I not been struggling to find the one thing that seemed unfindable. A new word, a word that is none of the usual social, communal or capital suspects to identify what really drives us fleshy humans, and name the entire civilized world’s emerging philosophy.


Capitalism sounded weird too the first time it was used. Suck it up.

Awesomeness, and the ongoing, systematic understanding and creation thereof, is what I reckon it's all about.