a bemused caution

dual light

Senior Member
KOREAN
Hello,

The following sentence is from How to Know God and the meaning of "a bemused caution" is not quite clear to me.
Could I have your kind advice on this?

"The usual attitude toward miracles is a bemused caution ; few people spend much time delving into the world's great wealth of scriptures."
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hello dual light - and welcome to WordReference :)

    bemused - surprised, bewildered, uncertain, confused, ...
    caution - wariness, reluctance, ...

    So, the attitude of 'bemused caution' suggests surprise, uncertainty, perhaps some reluctance to believe that what appears to have happened has actually happened.
     

    dual light

    Senior Member
    KOREAN
    Hello panjandrum. Thank you for your kind advice with a warm welcome. It seems I'm getting close to its meaning. In the meantime, I note the indefinite article 'a' in 'a bemused caution' which I understand indicates it is a countable noun. Would it still be OK to understand its meaning as you advised?
     
    Last edited:

    dual light

    Senior Member
    KOREAN
    Hello, RM1(SS). Thank you for your kind advice. I understand that your answer is "The usual attitude toward miracles is that it is really a miracle, not something that can be explained." Am I correct?
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Dual Light, could you perhaps give more context? You can cite up to four sentences of the original text, and you can explain what it's saying in your own words. I say this because it doesn't look like we can get the correct sense of what this means from the tiny extract you've provided so far.

    My interpretation is completely different from the ones given here. I would guess that:
    The usual attitude toward miracles is a bemused caution
    means:
    Most people don't believe in miracles; when they think about miracles they smile, not knowing exactly what to think, but are reluctant to take them seriously
     

    dual light

    Senior Member
    KOREAN
    lucas-sp, Thank you for your kind response. More context is "Revere what is holy. Our society teaches us to be skeptical of the sacred. The usual attitude toward miracles is a bemused caution; few people spend much time delving into the world's great wealth of scriptures. But every saint is your future, and every master is reaching over his shoulder to look at you, waiting for you to join him."
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I think my reading is correct, based on the previous sentence - if we are skeptical of the sacred, then we would be reluctant to believe in miracles. I think panj and I are on the same track here.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Hello, RM1(SS). Thank you for your kind advice. I understand that your answer is "The usual attitude toward miracles is that it is really a miracle, not something that can be explained." Am I correct?
    No. My comment was meant as an addition to the final sentence of panjandrum's post immediately above mine.

    "So, the attitude of 'bemused caution' suggests surprise, uncertainty, perhaps some reluctance to believe that what appears to have happened has actually happened or that it is really a miracle, not something that can be explained."
     

    dual light

    Senior Member
    KOREAN
    Thanks, RM1(SS). Your comment is an addition to the final sentence of panjandrum's post. Now I got the picture. Thanks for your correction.^^
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top