Monday, April 13, 2009

"Exalted" Definition

Do you have any additional relevant definitions?

Exalted from Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: ex·alt
Pronunciation: \ig-ˈzȯlt\
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin exaltare, from ex- + altus high — more at old
Date: 15th century
transitive verb
1: to raise in rank, power, or character
2: to elevate by praise or in estimation : glorify
3obsolete : elate
4: to raise high : elevate
5: to enhance the activity of : intensify
intransitive verb
: to induce exaltation
— ex·alt·ed·ly adverb
— ex·alt·er noun


Main Entry: glo·ri·fy
Pronunciation: \ˈglȯr-ə-ˌfī\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): glo·ri·fied; glo·ri·fy·ing
Etymology: Middle English glorifien, from Anglo-French glorifier, from Late Latin glorificare, from gloria
Date: 14th century
1 a: to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration b: to elevate to celestial glory
2: to light up brilliantly
3 a: to represent as glorious : extol a song glorifying romantic love
4: to give glory to (as in worship)
— glo·ri·fi·ca·tion \ˌglȯr-ə-fə-ˈkā-shən\ noun
— glo·ri·fi·er \ˈglȯr-ə-ˌfī(-ə)r\ noun


  1. My personal definition -- when thinking about my life as a whole and what I want it to amount to by the time I reach the end -- is this:

    Glory is the state of mind that arises from aligning one's highest personal values and one's philosophical values in action. Glory thus is not an emotion, which is fleeting, but a state of mind, as is happiness. It is enduring, for a long time, and it "colors" one's experience of life by enhancing it.

    One example of glory would be a rancher who fights to preserve his ranch from thieves in a state legislature. If the rancher fights against particular men for a particular piece of property, he is properly fighting a personal fight. He can be courageous and victorious or not. He will experience a sense of glory when he realizes that he is fighting not only for his particular property but for the universally applicable abstraction -- the principle -- of rights. The glory arises -- as a state of mind while one is pursuing those values -- from the alignment of personal and philosophical values in action.

    The movie Glory also captures this meaning of the concept "glory." Many of the soldiers in the newly-formed Union battle group were fighting -- properly -- for their own personal purposes. The commanding officer taught them to see that they could also be fighting for the broader principle of freedom.

    In that movie, their particular fight ended badly, but they had glory nevertheless.

  2. 1. Initially, in thinking about the meaning of the concept exhaltation, I would set aside related meanings that are social -- such as to exalt someone, that is, praise them in an effort to raise his position in the estimation of others.

    2. Etymology is certainly not an infallible guide to current meaning, but sometimes the etymology of a word can give a clue to an early meaning that has survived in some form into modern times.

    In Latin ex- is a preposition that often means "from." Altus is an adjective meaning grown (that is, one's potential is fully developed), great, or (most commonly) high. Our English word "altitude" reflects that last meaning.

    3. In my vocabulary, I think of exaltation as the emotion (not state of mind) that arises from being in a high place and being worthy of being there. I have had that feeling of exaltation, in a mild and transitory form, when physically struggling up the side of a steep hill and finally making the top, from which I can see far and wide, a perspective that reinforces a focus on the biggest values in life, not the trivia.

    The same sort of feeling arises, but more intensely, when I am thinking about a challenge that:
    (1) involves my highest values, personal or philosophical;
    (2) requires that I be worthy of it;
    (3) leads me to conclude, after a brief inventory, that I am worthy of meeting it directly.

    All three elements must be there for me to feel exaltation.

    In both negative and positive ways, the analogy between standing on a hilltop and mentally facing a major challenge with assurance is very close. Both involve a broad perspective. Both cast aside trivia. Both involve one's soul, that is, one's highest values.

    4. Another approach one can take in thinking about "exaltation" is to think about its opposite. What is its opposite? I don't have a word for it, but I encounter it frequently in our culture: It involves focus on the small, the low in value, the negative, the destructive.

    The individuals who live by this standard are often those who use:
    - insults instead of reasoning.
    - profanity instead of words of respect.
    - hyperbole instead of understatements that allow their listeners' minds to function fully.
    - snickering instead of solemnity.

    What word describes this low state of living? It is the opposite of exaltation.