Home > The Written Word > Define Ectopian / Ectopia

Define Ectopian / Ectopia


Ectopia  /ek-TOH-pia/  (noun)


 

In medical usage the word ectopia refers to displaced or shifted organs. e.g.
Tonsillar Ectopia

Ectopia can be thought of as a state of being out of place, or being displaced from the natural or ideal location or setting; to be in a condition that deviates from the “normal” either in situation or in relation to other members.

c.f. Utopia or “the perfect state.”

 

Ectopian  /ek-TOH-pian/   (adjective)


 

An object being in a state of ectopia. To be out of place or time, displaced, removed from natural habitat and placed into a new, different, foreign or alien situation.

Current usage patterns of this word, however appear to be limited to artistic and philosophical endeavours, the author being unable to find consistent examples of usage outside of these fields.

When thus applied, it appears  to include a distancing from the norms of the genre. Moreover, many example uses imply the positive connotations without the negative implications.

For example, nuances include thoughtful solitude and contemplation, meaningful individuality, otherworldliness, timelessness and often constitutes a willful, conscious choice on the part of the subject to place themselves or their art in said situation without undue emphasis on the disharmonious and discordant aspects of such a choice. 

 

I find it very exciting to be present at the very nascency of a word, especially a word that I feel applies so well to my current situation. For example, I’ve often considered myself as leading a rather ectopian lifestyle here in Japan as perhaps do most expatriates. 

I also find that I am far more attracted to ectopians than others, since in my eyes its those very differences that make people special.

Hence I’ve discovered that my taste in music is also characterised by a taste for a juxtaposition different styles shifted into new genres.

Singers like Kate Bush (sheer unadulterated otherworldliness), late 60’s David Bowie introspectives (looking at himself and the world from a distant place), Bic Runga (half Malaysian, half Maori creating a unique style of music that stands alone), Magdalen Hsu Li (American Born Chinese singer who overcame all manner of hardships in the deep south to turn herself into living proof of the existence of positive energy) and most recently Emilie Autumn (A colossal, chameleonic talent for shifting between genres yet belonging to none) to name but a few.

I had been unable to identify what it was I loved about certain music when similar songs sung in a different context failed to turn me on.

It’s the ectopian nature or “ectopianness” (for want of a better word!) of the songs and the artists that make me listen time and time again.

Since the ascendancy of Greek philosophy it has been known that it is the very sophistication of the words themselves allow the human mind to grasp intangible concepts by giving it a firm handle to hold onto.

The words we know and the concepts they represent shape our very thoughts and without them, we are both vocally and mentally mute.

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