Editors, of course, pay a lot of attention to words, though some eurekas take longer to develop than they should. Reading to my youngest from The Story of Science again tonight, I realized that “matter” – the basic structural component of the universe – has its roots in the Latin word “materia,” which is derived from the Latin word “mater.” You got it: mater is Latin for mother. Of course! Mother – the basic structural component of the universe!
I know, this is an embarrassingly late connection for an English major. Maybe it took me all these years of motherhood to really grasp the significance of such an elegant etymology.
Or maybe it just took Joy Hakim’s wisdom. She points out the shoulda-been-obvious-to-me in Aristotle Leads the Way:
The Original Indo-European word for both “mother” and “matter” was mater. . . . Both mother and matter, in ancient minds, were the origin of all things. I think the ancients had it right. (page 40)
No wonder Hakim’s books are so popular with homeschool maters – uh – homeschool mothers.