If there exist any two words whose meanings are exactly the same, we arrive at a conundrum, arrive at non-specificity of language that is designed for clarity of communication. In this respect, note that designation of two different words as synonyms implies that under certain conditions, but yet not in all conditions, one is substitutable for the other.
For illustration, consider the words, ‘Conjecture’ and ‘Hypothesis’. A Conjecture is ‘an assertion as to what possibly could be’. An Hypothesis is ‘a testable assertion about what possibly could be’. While the word ‘hypothesis’ can be substituted for the word, ‘conjecture’, the word, conjecture cannot be substituted for the word, hypothesis. The rationale is straightforward.
Man having not yet figured out how exactly to navigate outside of the Milky Way Galaxy, the assertion, ‘I believe life exists in other worlds outside of the Milky Way Galaxy (note all of the planets in our solar system are part of the Milky Way Galaxy)’ is, at present, non-testable, as such no more than a conjecture.
At the same present time, the assertion, ‘The rich are taking more than their fair share of wealth that is jointly produced by all in society’ is an eminently testable assertion, as such has qualification as an hypothesis and a conjecture. While then an hypothesis can be a conjecture, there exists the possibility that a conjecture does not have qualification as an hypothesis.
When it comes to vocabulary, ideally, at the margin there exists some phenomenon that Synonym A (e.g. Hypothesis) typifies, of which Synonym B (e.g. Conjecture) is inappropriate.
Consider then, the words, Patience, Endurance, and Perseverance. Using the principle of vocabulary that we just established, at the margin, there ought to be phenomena that are typified by each word, of which neither of alternate two words are appropriate.
First, however, it is important to debunk the notion that any of the three words — patience, endurance, or perseverance — have anything to do with time. Inappropriateness of a time-based character for all of the three words is evident as follows.
Suppose two contractors have performed two different contracts, as such, await payment. Suppose at two months past due, the payments continue to be outstanding. Suppose that whereas Contractor A continues to remonstrate with the debtor in respect of receipt of payment, Contractor B offers ‘monetary consideration’ to one of the officers of the debtor company for facilitation of payment.
At three months past due on the payments, each of Contractors A & B receive monies due, with outcome their obligations are fully satisfied within exactly the same time frame. It is clear to see that while Contractor A can be deemed to have been patient, clearly, Contractor B lacks characterization as a patient entity. But yet, both got satisfaction in exactly the same time frame, meaning we are unable to associate patience with ‘passage of time’. Using similar analogies, it is straightforward to show that neither of endurance nor perseverance have their meanings rooted in length of time, equivalently, passage of time.
Patience is a virtue. Impatience, however, is not necessarily a vice. Contractor B is impatient, but yet does not hurt anyone. Offer of monetary consideration for award of a contract has character of a bribe, as such is a vice; offer of monetary consideration for facilitation of prompt payment of an obligation cannot, in relation to character of the payor, be considered a vice.
None of Patience, Endurance, nor Perseverance have their meanings rooted in passage of time. Rather, all have their meanings rooted in demonstration, or non-demonstration of certain kinds of behaviors.
Having excluded passage of time as reference meaning for any of patience, endurance, or perseverance, we arrive at necessity of alternate specifications of meaning for each of the three words. We have then as follows.
Perseverance connotes capacity for maintenance of effort necessary for actualization of progress on a specific endeavor.
Endurance connotes capacity for non-ceding of integrity of a good self in presence of challenges of life.
Patience connotes capacity for maintenance of good character in presence of desires that, as yet, remain unfulfilled.
In presence of rightness of exclusion of ‘passage of time’ as reference meaning for any of patience, endurance, or perseverance, we arrive at insights as to how, at the margin, phenomena typified by the three words are different, yet complementary.
In presence of definitions for each of patience, endurance, and perseverance, we arrive at the inference that, with ubiquity of challenges of life in view, every person requires patience, endurance, and perseverance for making the most of life.
Absent patience, in presence of desires that remain unmet, none are able to maintain good character. Absent endurance, none are able to resist forces which seek to subvert integrity of the self, such that the self deviates from good paths to paths that cannot be deemed to be good.
The difference that subsists at the margin?
Patience does not connote resistance to another; in presence of a desire that has yet to be satisfied, e.g. receipt of monies already earned, connotes capacity for maintenance of good character.
In presence of forces that attempt to subvert good character, that is, the self, the word, patience becomes less appropriate, the word, endurance conveys each of maintenance of good character, and resistance to forces, which attempt to subvert capacity for maintenance of good character.
Unlike our exercise with the words, ‘Conjecture’ and ‘Hypothesis’, there is arrival at difference in meaning and usage as follows. Wherever the word patience is most appropriate, the word endurance is not; simultaneously, wherever the word endurance is most appropriate, the word patience is not. We arrive then at two words that are complementary, but whose usage, rightly understood, are totally dichotomous.
Applied in context of their most appropriate usage, the words patience and endurance lack character of synonyms. Rather are totally complementary, yet dichotomous attributes of persons.
Consider then,the word, Perseverance. It is straightforward that, with Patience relating to management of desires, and Endurance relating to dealings with opposing forces, clearly, Perseverance, which relates to personal objectives, is dichotomous, yet complementary to each of patience and endurance. Importance of perseverance is evident as follows.
Suppose you spend all of your time in formulation of desires, and in fending off of opposing forces. If your desires were entirely within your control to satisfy, you would not have any need of patience, meaning patience implies presence of another whose actions have an effect on satisfaction of your desire. If your actions were material to actualization of your desire, you would have goals and actions set out, meaning you would have need of perseverance. In the necessity only of good character, there is absence of demand for any actions on your part, as such absence of demand for perseverance.
For illustration, consider a man whose daughter is murdered. This man has desire for justice, but justice must be left in the hands of society. If we abstract away from movie scenarios in context of which ordinary agents of society have capacity for helping the police discover the truth in respect of their grievances, other than maintenance of good character, there is nothing such a man is able to do for arrival at satisfaction of his or her desire. In this respect, if such a man were, himself or herself to attack a main suspect, he or she would, while waiting for satisfaction of desire, find himself or herself to have lost his or her freedom.
If you spend all of your time fending off opposing forces, all that you achieve is prevention of actualization of their adversarial objectives. All you need then is Endurance. Suppose you do this all of your life. At age 65, there is arrival at the insight that you did not yourself produce any agenda for which you fought as gallantly as possible. Hence, absence of any need for perseverance.
Absent perseverance, none have capacity for sticking with good agenda. On his way to the Nobel Prize, and while for about eight years he worked in the Swiss patent office, Albert Einstein continued to think through and model problems of Physics. He persevered. Just about all of the men that are known to have attained to intellectual greatness are known to have had to persevere in one fashion or another.
In his assertion that, “Genius is 10% brilliance, 90% hard work,” Albert Einstein refers to non-negotiability of demand for perseverance on path to intellectual enlightenment and achievement.
One of the problems that plagues modern society today resides in the fact that, having adopted a ‘fast food’ mentality towards challenges of societal coexistence, society has lost capacity for producing greatness in men, with outcome there is shortage of greatness in leadership of countries.
Loss of capacity for production of greatness in men resides in the fact that, absent demand for, and demonstration of perseverance in context of pursuit of good and worthwhile objectives, none are able to develop the sort of character that evinces greatness in men, male or female. Increasingly, however, society is signaling that it is not what is good and worthwhile that defines success, but what is expedient. Expediency, of course, inherently does not embed any demand for perseverance.
With patience, endurance, and perseverance dichotomous characteristics of man, their ranking in context of development of character?
A child depends on parents for satisfaction of desires; then he or she endures peer pressure for defining of the self; then he or she embarks on a professional and family path on which, ideally, he or she, seeks achievement of certain good and worthwhile objectives.
Patience begets Endurance, Endurance begets Perseverance. Greatness is rounded out with Perseverance and capacity for Altruism.
If we will not take words for granted, it is not so much that we have the right words, but more importantly, that we induce inferences that are of pragmatic benefit for making the most of our time on earth.