The Thing

Helping Professionals To Use Story to Transform Communities

The Thing

Real. A wordblog requested by Melissa Dunn

Real is a place in the Philippines! Source: © Mike Gonzalez, 2005. Find him at

Real is a place in the Philippines! Source: © Mike Gonzalez, 2005. Find him at

They say at some point, you’ve got to call a thing a thing. The origin of the word “real” is Old Latin re- which meant thing, and alis,  meaning like, similar to.

Things that are real are like a “thing.” So let’s go a bit deeper. What’s a thing? Ready? The origin of the word thing is Middle English, meaning a public assembly, especially one in a court of law.

What’s real is what you’ve publicly assembled, and what you consider law. If you’ll notice real also translates to “royal” in Spanish.

What’s real is what matters to you. What you speak about. What your ethics are based on. What your community has decided is right. What leads you.

The thing about a “thing” is that it is the best word for what you can’t name.

So what isn’t real?

What are you naming? The problems. The triumphs. The situations in-between.

If you can name it, it’s material. That’s what this very powerful insight is about. When you call it a thing, it will become real for you. If you agree to something in a group (that public assembly mentioned above), if you make it a “thing”, it will become real to everyone.

Anything you see will soon change anyway. If you don’t name it (ha ha!)– you allow it to show you its real nature.

So let’s not call it a thing.


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