Thursday, November 12, 2020

Sacrifice Etymology

 The word sacrifice is derived from the Latin 'sacrificium' which originates from 'sacer' meaning sacred and 'facere' meaning to make or create. Sacer was also used to refer to those who were religiously sanctioned, or given special powers by a god. This use of sacer may have been intended as a metaphor for the ability to be blessed with children.

The term sacrifice was first used in a religious context by the ancient Romans. In 412 BC, during the third year of what is known as The Gallic Wars, Titus Manlius Torquatus executed one of his own sons for attempting to leave Roman territory without express permission and surrendering to an enemy tribe.

In the simplest terms, sacrifice is taking something that you own and giving it to someone else. The word "sacrifice" comes from the Latin root sacer, meaning sacred or holy; figuraatively, it means 'dedicated'. Not only are sacrifices given up in order to create a new state of affairs (for example, peace), but also in order for one entity to be seen as better than another (for example, if I am selfless enough). Semantically speaking then:

To sacrifice is a procedure which by its nature implies: 1- A voluntary action on part of an individual 2- An intention towards achieving a certain consequence 3- Another entity with whom there's some sort of relation between them 4- That this interaction will cause some sort of change within at least one party involved.

However, sacrifice is a very wide concept and it's important to see how the word has evolved over time. The verb sacri-ficare (which means 'to make holy' in Latin) was used by Roman Catholic Church as a way of consecrating something or someone from profane existence into "sacred space". In this context, what one sacrifices is not necessarily tangible goods: it can be blood, an animal or even oneself.

The term sacrilege, which means the infringement of a sacred object or an act considered as such, has its roots in the Roman Empire: it was first used to describe not only those who injured religious places and things but also those who committed crimes against gods. Sacrileges were punished by death (burning alive) until Christianity became official religion of Rome.

As the word sacri-fice evolved it came to mean "giving up something valuable for the sake of something else considered as more important or worthy". To sacrifice can also be a metaphor to describe someone or something that is seen as inferior. In this context, if I take an action which harms them in order to achieve my own ends, I am sacrificing them because they are being used without their consent.

Sacrificing a person can also be considered immoral, because it creates a relation of inequality between the sacrificer and the sacrificed. It is interesting to note though that this kind of sacrifice has been practiced in many contexts throughout history: human sacrifices for example. Like I said before, if I am selfless enough (that is if I have virtues), my actions will seem altruistic.

Buddhism distinguishes between two kinds of sacrifice. The first one is a worldly or secular sacrifice, which it calls 'Homas'. A homa consists in making an offering to a deity (in the form of fire) which can be anything from food to incense. It is performed by priests of either sex.

The term 'sacrifice' is a derivative of the Latin sacrificium, which means "a consecrated thing", in reference to an offering made as part of a religious ritual. The root sacer has the meaning sacred or sanctified and was later used for things that are offered to some deity. By way of analogy, people can be said to make sacrifices when they perform actions with profound personal cost.

Perhaps the most basic definition of sacrifice is to make a personal offering in order to achieve something greater. Sacrifices are often made without anticipation of reward, only for the good of others who are being helped by them.

This kind of sacrifice is not typically made for the deliberate purpose of self-betterment or rewards. Instead, it might be described as an offering in order to make up for something that has been done, or to pay a debt.

A common phrase is "one who sacrifices himself for others", often used in a positive manner.

In many cultures, the term sacrifice is used to refer to ritual ablation in which a part of something—a fruit or vegetable, for example—is offered as a propitiatory offering. The sacrificed material is destroyed by fire, often with prayer and ceremony.

The term can also be used figuratively to describe the development of a relationship or attraction, and in psychology it is often used in reference to sacrifice one's own interests for others.

The very definition of the word "sacrifice" is a giving up of something which has value, for the sake of something else considered to have greater value. In other words, sacrificing is an act that benefits someone or something more than it does yourself.

I believe that the concept of sacrifice is a uniquely human trait. We are, after all, the only species on earth to sacrifice for our young.

In modern human society, we often 'sacrifice' for those closest to us. For example, a parent may go without food or sleep in order to care for his or her children.

As humans, we are also willing to sacrifice for those outside our immediate family. A typical example of this is a soldier who puts his life on the line in order to protect their community.

At a more abstract level, we have the concept of sacrificing for our country. This is exemplified in the American patriotism that arises during times of war.

The common thread in all of these cases, is the willingness to sacrifice for those that you care about. It is an innate part of human nature.

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