A Non-Dogmatic Definition

I was playing a phone game on the way to work this morning where I have to form words from a grid of 25 letters. This free Android app game is called Dropwords and one of the words I formed was dogma. Hwah! To me, it’s a cheem word to be seeing when the taste of flouride hadn’t yet left my mouth.

Dogma means a set of doctrines, teachings, principles or philosophies that is held as infallible truths in matters concerning morals, beliefs or behaviours. Steve Jobs defined ‘dogma’ as living under the results of other people’s thinking and called for one to not let the noise of others suffocate our own inner voice.

Dogma is like a gate that keeps the tenets of an institution's doctrines safe. Or is it to protect the world from the beast that is housed within it? Where once provoked, the ferocity of persecution could pulverise anyone?

I am familiar with the definition and meaning of dogma as any one in the Christian faith would. Thou shall do this, thou shall not that. Cross-bearers are no strangers to commandments so much so that dogma has become a dirty word for church doctrines where proclamations of the palpacy form an iron-clad license to kill (eg. witch hunts, medieval crusades, religious genocide, etc).

But what I am curious about is the origin of this peculiar word, its etymology. I mean, we know God has some affiliation but what has ‘dog’ got to do with it? Why not call it ‘godma’? Then it sounds like ‘god-mother’ so we flipped it around and use ‘dog’ instead?

The Latin (dogma) and Greek (dogmatos) roots of the word didn’t explain how the word came about. Why is it dogma and not anything else? So here’s my explanation in the following photo caption…

The dog's owner feeds it. In turn, the dog protects the interests of its master. The dog-master relationship is strong. Is that whence the word 'dogma' comes from?

Dogmatic is an arrogant assertion of one’s belief as the undisputed truth and has a low tolerance for variations. When read backwards, dogmatic hides the proclamation “i am god”. Words within a word that so captured what dogma alludes to!

On a side note, here’s a word that is phonetically similar to dogmaDo ma. Pronounced as doh (or doe) ma, it is the Vietnamese equivalent of the curse phrase, “f*ck your mother”. I was taught this by a Viet friend while I was studying in Australia. That’s the first Viet phrase I’d ever learnt and the only one I remembered. Now you know how my mind functions. Hahaha… oops!

With the coming Presidential Election, who would emerge the top dog? Will he have more bark rather than still come with a white leash?

Anyway, this is just a general musing about the word and the doggy pics that came to mind while I’m writing this post. The canine portraits were taken during my trip to Hanoi in May this year. I’m so amazed by the prevalence of dog ownership there. I thought the pooches would be on dinner tables rather than as pets. But that’s my dogma.

Dogmata can be wrong. And sometimes, dangerous. Woof! 🙂


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Scot
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 05:41:54

    Hehehe, you must have a long ride to work. Enjoyed the dogs, when is the calendar coming out?


  2. DC
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 10:34:08

    Love the last pic! Doberman in a Chihuahua body? LOL


    • Darren Ng
      Aug 20, 2011 @ 13:32:23

      so cool right? when i saw the dog, i was so blown away by its semblance as u mentioned. but i’m not sure if it’s a chihuahua coz it looked more like a miniature pinscher to me.


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