nobility

busanaise

Senior Member
Korean - Korea
Hello,

Could you explain what's the proper meaning of the pink-colored phrase in the following context?

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The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘security’ as a ‘condition of being protected from or not exposed to danger’ – but, at the same time, as ‘something which makes safe; a protection, guard, defence’: this makes it one of those not common (yet not uncommon, either) terms that presume/hint/suggest/imply an organic – and so once and for all fixed and sealed – elective affinity linking the condition to the assumed means of attaining it (a sort of unity akin to that which, for instance, is suggested by the term ‘nobility’). The condition to which this particular term refers is highly and deeply, as well as unquestionably, appreciated and yearned for by most language users; the approbation and regard bestowed on it by the public rubs off thereby on its acknowledged guards or providers, to which its name also, in one fell swoop, refers. The means bask in the glory of the condition and so share in its undisputed desirability. Once this has been accomplished, a fully predictable pattern of conduct tends to be followed automatically, in the way typical of all conditioned reflexes. <-----Excess quote removed by moderator (Florentia52)----->
from Strangers at Our Door
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Thank you and Happy New Year!!!
 
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  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I take it to mean that if you want to reach the condition of nobiliy (being nobel), you first have to belong to the nobility (the high social class).
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s possible to have security in order to have security. In other words, you can be given protection in order to be safe. Although they’re two different things – one being the consequence of the other – they can both be expressed in exactly the same way.

    The writer is citing nobility as another example of this, which would give us the statement: It’s possible to have nobility in order to have nobility. Presumably – as grassy says – he means that being a member of the nobility (in its sense of the aristocracy) endows you with nobility (in its sense of having exemplary personal qualities).
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I don't know if Lingobingo feels the same about it, but I think that the author is trying to say something of great banality using the most obfuscating and complicated language possible. I'd never read that book. ;)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't know if Lingobingo feels the same about it, but I think that the author is trying to say something of great banality using the most obfuscating and complicated language possible. I'd never read that book. ;)
    I agree it's not a fun read. But he was 90 when it was published!
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    a sort of unity akin to that which, for instance, is suggested by the term ‘nobility’

    As I understand it, the author is describing the type of "security" which is a level/degree/type of affinity with other members of a loosely defined group. It is the affinity suggested by the word "nobility (noun = those of the ruling classes)"

    The word will suggest a loose, collegiate association in which each member recognizes the other as a member; a quiet confidence in one's own status, but which is not "on show".

    Security is being defined as this quiet self-confidence in one's own status.
     
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