“Simon’s Saga,” Vocabulary from Episode 30 – 25 Words

iconoclastic

characterized by attack on established beliefs

And he could be delightfully iconoclastic and independent in his thinking.
preeminent

greatest in importance, degree, or significance

Then, it was this materialistic worldview that became preeminent—and still is.
utilitarian

valuing or chosen for usefulness above all else

If you can’t see it, it must not exist. Or if it does, it’s irrelevant. Only utilitarian thinking has any validity.
metaphor

a figure of speech that suggests a non-literal similarity

And it seems that there’s a dominant sort of metaphor for describing the world in every era
omnipotent

having unlimited power

The whole universe must be like a clock, people thought. Yeah, some omnipotent person made this clock—our universe—gave it a good winding, put it on a shelf where it’s been gathering dust, and it’s been there ever since, tick tock, tick tock, year after year, eon after eon.
omniscient

infinitely wise

“So does this guy look at the watch? I mean if he’s so powerful and omniscient he must be able to tell the time without looking at his watch.”
cartography

the making of maps and charts

Cartography wasn’t exactly a precise science back then either, so maps were wildly distorted and weren’t much help.
mercenary

profit oriented

“And,” Jaz said, “if you can’t sail around the world without getting lost, the mercenary bit doesn’t work out too well.
lucre

informal terms for money

You can’t make a lot of lucre for Church and King if you spend most of your time sailing in circles.
enamored

marked by foolish or unreasoning fondness

It’s totally mechanistic, so it doesn’t involve any violation of the materialistic view we’re so enamored of.
exorcise

expel through adjuration or prayers

If a machine can think like us, or even better than us, it must mean that mind is a natural, reasonable outcome of mechanistic processes, not some scary ‘ghost in the machine’—a soul in a body—that must be exorcised at all costs.
acronym

a word formed from the initial letters of several words

And there’s this obsession with artificial intelligence—AI, to use the acronym—now too.
futile

producing no result or effect

I mean, how can I look at it objectively, from the outside, and see what I fundamentally see things in terms of? It seems like a kind of futile exercise.
herculean

extremely difficult; requiring great strength

Can’t you by a Herculean effort emancipate yourself from your world view?
emancipate

free from slavery or servitude

Can’t you by a Herculean effort emancipate yourself from your world view?
agenda

a temporally organized plan for matters to be attended to

Its influence is ubiquitous. It sets our society’s agenda. It decides what is important in our culture, even what is real.
maudlin

effusively or insincerely emotional

If it wasn’t on Oprah, it can’t be worth much, can it, although some of the books she used to recommend are really maudlin.
legacy

a gift of personal property by will

“That’s a little depressing, Jaz,” Simon said. “You mean, you think that’ll be our biggest legacy? The box?”
zenith

the point above the observer directly opposite the nadir

The twentieth-century Americans achieved the zenith of civilization and discovered the ultimate truth.
vapid

lacking significance or liveliness or spirit or zest

They acted stupid, created a truly vapid mass culture that any casual, intelligent observer would see as the product of fourth-rate minds.
occult

hidden and difficult to see

Well, my friends, I have discovered the occult mystery hidden in these programs.
fictitious

formed or conceived by the imagination

All these shows were fantasies—completely fictitious.
colossal

so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe

Live in an artificial, alternative reality of caring moms and doting dads, where all the girls are blond cheerleaders and everyone is middle class with a colossal house in the suburbs and an SUV in the driveway the size of a tank.
disparity

inequality or difference in some respect

No huge disparities in wealth between people.
eradicate

destroy completely, as if down to the roots

Where violence has been eradicated and Americans have no enemies in the world because everyone just loves them.

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