Politics. Where Does The Word Come From?


I received an email this morning asking me about politics. Since politics in the general sense seems to be a sensitive word now days, I thought I would shed some light on the word.

The message I received stated that they had seen on Facebook a post stating that the word politics was derived from two words; that being “Poli” and “Ticks;” with Poli meaning “Many” and Ticks meaning “bloodsucking.”

While I would not disagree with those words, in a lose term, in this case, that is not where the word politics was derived from.

You see. Many years ago, long before we were even thought of, there were political leaders; good or bad that had many of the same functions as our current world leaders, for the exception, I’m sure, they did not have nearly as many problems to deal with.

I’m also going to throw out a disclaimer that there might be a more sources to the origins of the word politics, but this current explanation is a good starting point.

Aristotle, (384–322 BC). Was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition.

His writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, and government.

Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him. It was above all from his teachings that the west inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the west and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion.

Politics, (affairs of the cities) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The academic study of politics is referred to as political science.

Politics is a multifaceted word. It may be used positively in the context of a “political solution” which is compromising and non-violent, or descriptively as “the art or science of government,” but also often carries a negative connotation.

For example, abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared that “we do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us.” The concept has been defined in various ways, and different approaches have fundamentally differing views on whether it should be used extensively or limited, empirically or normative, and on whether conflict or co-operation is more essential to it.

A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one’s own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries.

Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.

In modern nation states, people often form political parties to represent their ideas. Members of a party often agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders.

A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, as well as the works of Confucius.

In this sense and what we see in today’s society, most notably as the two party system which has been so prevalent in the US for a 100+ years, has become more of competition. Much like that of the TV series Game of Thrones and much of the reason that our current state of politics has become so much of a jungle to work through in determining what candidate or political party would be the better choice for the nation as a whole.

Hope this helps explain things in a clearer light and as always, keep those emails coming.