This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Sunday Rest: psychonaut. Word Not To Use Today.

Words, as I've said before, come with echoes. If you have warm happy associations connected with the word psycho then you'll probably have warm happy associations connected with the word psychonaut.

For me, the naut bit isn't much better. Nauts are a bit of a let-down, and perhaps a bit of a con. I mean, astronauts don't really explore the stars, do they, nor an aeronaut the air...

...and to me it all reeks rather of marketing.

So what is a psychonaut, anyway? It's someone who willingly puts his or her mind in an unusual environment and then sees how it reacts.

The unusual environment may involve hypnosis, trances, drugs, mental or physical deprivation, repetition, or dreaming.

Of course this sort of thing has a very long and even, in parts, respectable history.

But psychonaut still sounds too much like a desperate attempt to sell a children's cartoon, to me.

Sunday Rest: psychonaut. This word comes from the Greek psychē, soul, spirit or mind, and naútēs, sailor or navigator. Psychonaut seems to have been coined by Ernst Jünger, who used the term in a 1970 essay.


  1. I don't like this word. For some reason I've always found it a bit creepy, though I can't really tell you why.

    1. Terrific to hear from you, Eddie. Do hope things are going all right.

      It's only just occurred to me, but is it the threat that tiny submarines might come snooping through the psyche?

      I think it might be, for me.