To the extent that life finds its deepest expressions in words, the way in which ordinary people speak (or write) conveys a great deal more about how they live than do their actual words.
I was involved with a Palestinian-Lebanese woman once. A dull Maronite Catholic when I met her, she transitioned into a dull Muslim and ended a dull Eastern Orthodox, and only in a matter of a few months. I never learned what caused her erratic behavior more, her search for identity or her involvement with an atheist. I learned, however, there live among us possibly unhinged minds.
“How many Gondares live in Gondar?” was a question that gnawed at an inquisitive gubernator in 1930. He could not attend to official business until he had tasked someone with a comprehensive census for Gondar city and its environs.
The Shinto believe the Emperor of Japan is directly descended from the gods. This cult of personality inspired thousands of Japanese to lay down their lives in his honor without the slightest hesitation.
Last week, Addis Ababa celebrated the finding of the true cross (Meskal). The annual event is now registered by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage event. As an unbeliever and a man of least culture, I had no business being there.