V is for Vibrant: Ronald Reagan and Indira Gandhi

Vibrant: having or showing great life, activity, and energy; very bright and strong; of a sound: loud and powerful.

You can probably guess it didn’t always mean this. The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us that it originally comes from ‘vibrantem’ (swaying), which is from the present participle of the Latin verb vibrare ‘to  move to and fro’ (or in other words, vibrate).

In the 1550s it meant ‘agitated’; by the 1610s, ‘vibrating’ (especially “vibrating so as to produce sound” from a string, etc.) The first record of it being used to mean ‘vigorous, full of life’ is recorded in 1860.

On www.finedictionary.com I found two quotes containing the word vibrant:

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.”


Ronald Reagan

File:Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981.jpg

But whose religion should be vibrant, Mr Reagan? Yours? Someone else’s? What about those people who don’t follow an organised religion and, shock horror, have their own moral code -without having to be told what’s right and wrong? You really think freedom prospers when we’re ruled under ‘the law of God’? I think that if you start insisting on ruling under God’s law (by which I presume you mean the God referred to in Christian and Jewish texts), you’re actually taking away the freedom of many people.

I’m not too keen on that God’s law, if I’m honest. Recorded by a succession of people with varying degrees of literacy and a variety of agendas, those laws were written over a long time period by people relying mainly on hearsay and accounts of events that happened decades and often centuries before. Written in several languages and dialects, not to mention being expanded, abridged, lost, found, translated and re-translated, then manipulated to the whims of various religious groups, state leaders and monarchs… it’s no surprise that what we’ve ended up with is wildly inconsistent, vague, bigoted and anachronistic advice, some of which turns my stomach.

As a female panellist said ON TV this week (sorry – her name escapes me!), while she respected the desire of homosexuals to get married in a Christian church, she couldn’t personally understand it; the bible clearly says that homosexuality is wrong and homosexuals should be stoned, so why would a homosexual couple want to get married in, and condone, a faith whose teachings said that? She had a point.

I far prefer the quote below.

File:Mohandas K. Gandhi, portrait.jpg


“You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”
Indira Gandhi

Yep. That’ll do.