Challenge Yourself, Frugal Lifestyle, Realise your dreams, True Stories

“Political” and “Politics” | Definition | Etymology

What 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…

how to deal with existential fear - The Scream painted by Edvard Munch
how to overcome existential fear?

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.

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.

Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary

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.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, via The Free Dictionary

La Discussion Politique - The Political Discussion (painting by Emile Friant)
how can you avoid getting involved in "politics"?

Etymology of “Political” and “Politics”

I’ll spare you another long list of how “political” and “politics” found their way into the English language and give you a short list of translations instead 😉

  • η πολιτική [ee politikee] (Modern Greek) = politics
  • πολιτικός [politikós] (Ancient and Modern Greek) = political, civic, civilian
  • the root to both these words is η πόλη [ee pólee] (Modern Greek; Ancient Greek: πόλις ) = town, city, townspeople

Any connections rushing through your neural pathways? Aah, yes (the last definition for today, I promise):


  1. A person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a state or nation.
  2. A resident of a city or town, especially one entitled to vote and enjoy other privileges there.
  3. A civilian.
  4. A native, inhabitant, or denizen of a particular place

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, via The Free Dictionary

I’ll leave the conclusions to you.

Pure Utopia?

There’s a country which is without government for 474 days as of today (the record holder used to be Iran, with 249 days). That, of course, creates various major and minor problems – and yet its economy is flourishing.

I’m not referring to some dubious banana republic but to a country in the heart of Europe: Belgium.

According to a Bloomberg article from 16th February 2011, the National Bank of Belgium in Brussels announced that, after a 2% increase of gross domestic product last year, this year an expansion of another 1.8% is expected.

Quote from The Guardian (17th February 2011, the day Belgium broke Iran’s world record):

Although this long-lasting political deadlock is nothing to be proud of, few people are upset about the situation. This is partly due to the fact that regional governments are still working. Areas including education, culture, sport, welfare and parts of the economic and employment policy have been transferred to the Flemish and French-speaking communities, saving Belgium from not being governed at all. In addition, a nonexistent national government is unable to spend any money, which has proved an economical policy.

How are the Belgian citizens actually dealing with this no-national-government crisis? Another quote from the same article:

Remarkably, this doesn’t seem to worry Belgians too much. In the land of the surreal, protest calls primarily appeal to the smile on your face, with light-hearted “protest actions” such as men letting their beards grow until a government is in place, or women following Lysistrata’s example and refusing sex until an agreement is made. Top of the bill is the initiative by some citizens of Ghent (renowned for their anti-establishment rebelliousness) to organise a public party in the streets of their city on Thursday night, counting down to the new world record.

I don’t expect you want to follow the Belgians’ example 😀 , so:

What can you do?

You could start, for instance, by reading Power of The People by Nicole Ciccarelli/Purpose and Dream, which in fact triggered the article you’ve just read. – Thank you, Nicole 😎  – Here only a short quote:

We say we want change. Changing the world starts within each one of us. Transforming our every interaction, thoughts, words and deeds towards our fellow human. Pushing through our barricades of ego and fear, into acceptance and love.

To create a society of happy people. The aims being one’s personal derivation of creativity, love and happiness, whatever that individually means. Children, elders and everyone along the spectrum, being treated with honor, respect and appreciation.

Can you imagine a world such as this? 

Keep smiling 🙂


Update re: What You Can Do – Challenge yourself

Looking for ideas? There are many ways you can contribute to making the world more liveable for yourself and for all without becoming a professional politician 😉 I’ll add more idea generating and thought provoking resources to the “Related articles” at the bottom of the page.  – And of course there’s the link to the treasure chest of Gorilla Guerilla Goodness in the sidebar 😎

Image sources:

If you liked this post and can think of a friend or colleague who might be interested as well, please share or email it by clicking on the buttons below.

Related articles:

14 thoughts on ““Political” and “Politics” | Definition | Etymology”

  1. Wow, Thank you so much Maria! What an incredible post this was, I love how you broke down the etymology of political and politics….. Brilliantly done! In the times we are in, it takes for us to keep sharing and raising awareness…….. xo, Nicole

  2. Awareness is a key element in getting involved. Too often, the media dictates what people understand about politics. The reality of any situation must be viewed from multiple perspectives – only then can we take a stand and get involved.

    1. You’re so right… Unfortunately awareness is a shy bird. Unless we look for it, we might not even know it’s there – which makes it easy to ignore until it cries out loud.
      And then we can always put on our headphones and turn up the volume :mrgreen:

  3. My friends in Belgium like their current arrangement and I don’t blame them too… Talk is cheap, I’m for proactive, decisive action that leads to beneficial change… Lately, in many political quarters, a lot of chattering is going on and not enough doing… I enjoyed this post, Maria! 🙂

    1. Thank you for your input, sort of “straight from the Belgians’ mouth” – I’ve only met one Belgian couple this year, and they were quite happy, too 🙂

I'd love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s