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Establishing Ties and Taming Peace

By Kimberly Burnham

In Rhodian, a language spoken on Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece the word “ktílos” or “κτίλος” means peaceful, tame, docile, gentle and domesticated as if those who are peaceful must also be docile.

In English, the words “tame” and “peaceful” seem pretty different but in other languages tame is a synonym for peace. And while the words tame and calm can seem more similar, a tame animal, for example, is not always calm and a calm animal is not always tame. A lion resting after eating a wildebeest would not be considered tame. She might be calm but not tame. A black bear cub might rest peacefully after munching on black berries but he is not tame.

In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry book,” The Little Prince,” the fox explains the meaning of tame to the little prince.

“Come and play with me,” proposed the little prince. “I am so unhappy.”

 “I cannot play with you,” the fox said. “I am not tamed.”

“What does that mean ‘tame’?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. It means to establish ties.”

Think for a moment about the relationship between peace (both world peace and inner peace) and establishing ties or a relationship, a trust or bond with another person or an animal.

Here are some languages where the same word is translated as peace and as tame.

Bengali Peace

In a language of India and of Bangladesh

“sānti”, “sainta”, “shanti”, “shaan-ti” mean peace

“abirōdha” translates as harmony, peace, accord

agreement, amity and friendliness

in Bengali or Bangla

 

Another Bengali word holds all this and more

“sānta” means cool, quiet and calm

peaceful, still and tranquil

composed, tame and soft

as well as collected, orderly, and laid-back

feel into the words

does tame feel the same as laid-back?

 

With a long “A” sound, “shaant” holds within its letter

a host of meanings including calm and tranquil

quiet, serene and sober

placid, still, and smooth

soft, gentle and tame

in Hindi another language of India

what do you think of when you think

of soft, gentle and tame?

 

Takia Peace and Tameness

A world away in Takia “dagom” means both

peace and tameness

“dagoman” is peaceful

“maŋ dagoman” means we are peaceful or at peace

on two volcanic islands

Karkar and Bagabag

in Madang Province of Papua New Guinea

 

Wise and Tame in Iceland

Across the sea

the people of Iceland have a word for peace

“friður” with the “ð” pronounced like a “th” sound

a different word means tame

“spakur” and also wise

as if those who tame their hearts

and forge strong bonds

are tame and wise

and all the while at peace

Assuming you are not a lion tamer, consider for a moment, expand your perspective on peace, forge new connections in the brain as you think about the relationship between “peace” and “tame”. Who or what have you created ties and connections with?

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