66 definitions by Mikhail Epstein

chronocracy n (Greek khronos, time + Greek kratia, power or rule) Ð rule by the laws of time and by the force of temporality; a form of government based on the recognition of time constraints on any form of power and the necessity for periodic change of leaders and transfer of powers on all levels. Under chronocracy, the social life is determined by the regular replacement of political, scientific, economic, and cultural trends, methods, fashions, and personnel in measured periods of time. Presidents, computers, car models, artistic trends, dress cuts, schoool textbookss, etc. have to change periodically to maintain their authoritative status as "new."
Is America a democracy and what does the term "demos" mean as applied to contemporary societies? No doubt, however, that America is a chronocracy, with a rigid system of enforced change on all levels, from political leaders to dress fashions and technological designs.
by Mikhail Epstein November 13, 2003
traf v (back-formation from traffic) - to drive in heavy traffic, to be held in traffic, to trail in slow traffic.


Back-formation is the creation of a simpler or shorter form from a pre-existing more complex form: "edit" from "editor," "intuit from intuition."
Now, "traf" from "traffic."

I traffed for an hour before I could get home.
I've been traffing for two hours before I could even stop by a gas station to have a cup of coffee.
by Mikhail Epstein November 08, 2003
thanatagogy n (Greek thanatos, death + Greek agein, to lead; cf pedagogy, demagogy, mystagogy) Ð initiation into death, preparation for dying.


Thanatology is the study of death and dying; thanatagogy is a practical branch of this knowledge. The Egyptian "Book of the Dead" is the most ancient manual in thanatagogy.

For Plato, philosophy is thebasis of thanatagogy. To study philosophy is nothing but to prepare oneself to die.
by Mikhail Epstein November 07, 2003
ambipathy n (Latin, Greek ambi- (or amphi), both, on both sides + Greek pathos, feeling) - a mixture of sympathy and antipathy, of attraction and repulsion; a condition of being torn apart by conflicting feelings and aspirations.
"... At once I hate and love as well," - this line by Catullus, Roman poet of the first century BC, is one of the first literary expressions of ambipathy.

Dmitry Karamazov in Dostoevsky says that "a man is too broad" and is equally attracted by the two abysses--the upper and the lower ones, the ideal of Madonna and the ideal of Sodom. In this sense, Dmitry and perhaps Dostoevsky himself are the brightest manifestations of this common trait of ambipathy.
by Mikhail Epstein November 06, 2003

infinition (definition + infinitity) Ð an infinite process of defining something that cannot be fully or precisely defined; an endless list of possible definitions.
Certain fluid concepts in their emergent state are subject to in-finition--infinite dispersal of their meaning--rather than to definition. To infine is to suggest the infinity of possible definitions of a certain term or concept and therefore to problematize its meaning and the possibility or the benefit of defining it. If definition circumscribes a specific conceptual area, then infinition releases the concept from restricting demarcations and places it in an indeterminate zone.
by Mikhail Epstein November 06, 2003
virtonautics n (virtual + nautics, from Greek nautikos, of ships, sailing, like in astronautics) Ð experimental exploration and development of virtual worlds.


Now virtonautics is still in embryo, but in the future it will become as common an occupation as aeronautics and astronautics today.
by Mikhail Epstein November 02, 2003
egonetics, n. (ego+net+ics)

weaving a network of self-references, increasing one's presence on the internet.

Egonetics is different from "ego surfing" - a search of one's own name on the internet (using search engines). Egonetics
is an active electronic dispersal of your name, making links to your homepage, entering various interactive sites and
open forums. It can be done for the sake of an idea or a commercial promotion, but in absence of ideological
or professional motifs, this is a narcissistic case of egonetics.
I am afraid that my colleague uses her office hours for egonetics.

He is not an egoist in the traditional sense, he is simply an egonetic.
by Mikhail Epstein November 16, 2003
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