May 15, 2009

Depression Led to Creation

by Diar Adhihafsari - 2002

You’re composing your research design and then, out of the blue, you’re realizing that you’ve been using the word “explain” for, I don’t know, three hundred and fifteen times.

What are you going to do next?

Where are you looking for another word for “explain”?

If you answer Thesaurus, then I’d like you to please meet Peter Mark Roget, the man behind Roget’s Thesaurus (or we just call it Thesaurus).

I was reading an old edition of The Jakarta Post when I found a piece about him and his notorious Thesaurus.

It is sort of unbelievable how Roget came up with the astounding Thesaurus initially to fend off his depression.

In the article’s words,
His mother suffered dark depressions and tried to dominate his life. His sister and daughter had severe mental problems, his father and wife died young and a beloved uncle committed suicide in his arms.

So what did Peter Mark Roget … do to handle all the pain, grief, sorrow, affliction, woe, bitterness, unhappiness and misery in a life that lasted over 90 years?

He made lists.
Lists of words, that is. Particularly, he made lists of synonyms. You can’t deny how easier life is with Roget’s humble yet masterpiece creation. And guess what, the listing activity really could fend off his depression.

Joshua Kendall, author of The Man Who Made Lists (a biography on Roget’s life), says:
As a boy he stumbled upon a remarkable discovery -- that compiling lists of words could provide solace, no matter what misfortunes may befall him.
Hopefully Roget’s life and his creation can motivate you in some ways -- that adversities can still bring the good for you as well :)

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