Save or Savor?

“I arise in the morning torn between the desire to save the world and to savor it. It makes it hard to plan the day.” E. B. White

When I read that statement by E. B. White back in the late 1980s it hit home. I read it where it was originally written, copied into a journal and there it sat. But it also stayed in my mind describing my own dilemma during my teaching years.

Where did E. B. White say this? I have no idea. I looked this morning and found the phrase mis-quoted and paraphrased on all the various quote sites online, but not a shred of place or time. I found it as the “Interpret the meaning of this quote and explain how it applies to your own life” essay test question. I found it rewritten on another essay test so that the students wouldn’t have to know the meaning of “savor” and would read “enjoy” instead, and would understand “save the world” as “improve the world” and I grimaced. It’s not the same, “improve” is not “save.” For that matter, to savor something is not quite the same as enjoying it. It’s deeper.

Oh well. Words have meaning — and sound — but I’m not saving the world anymore, I’m savoring it. 🙂

7 thoughts on “Save or Savor?

    • Yep — just because the Thesaurus tells us two words are synonyms doesn’t mean they have EXACTLY the same meaning. There’s such a thing as nuance… 🙂

  1. If fewer people would try to save the world and more were to savor it, it might put an end to all the religious and ideological wars.

    Instead of our country ripping apart at the seams, maybe we could relax and actually accomplish things instead of obsessing about all our differences.

    • Yep. I wonder sometimes how capable we are if savoring at all with all our arrogance, competitiveness, ignorance, hubris etc. makes me sad. Fortunately my “saving” was limited to the classroom and a wilderness park in San Diego

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