The Right To Uncertainty
The Muse Letter No. 57
I think about promises a lot lately. The ones that we make, the ones that are given to us, the ones that we need to feel secure, the ones that should have never been made.
In German the word to promise = versprechen is a homonym meaning that it has two (or more) different meanings. It is constructed with the word sprechen = to speak and the preposition ver = mis (like mis-spoken) that usually is used in combination with verbs to indicate a wrong, faulty action, but not always. Which leads to the strange notion that the word versprechen = promise means to assure someone that one will definitely do something or that something will happen but it can also mean to pronounce something wrong or to make a slip of the tongue.
So A promise = Das Versprechen in German is somehow both: A slip of the tongue and an assurance for the future. Just of course not at the same time.
Or maybe it is.