Apr 072011

“Aporia” is the state of being blocked, of having no way through a difficulty.  It comes from a root meaning “not porous” – if a material is porous that means water can find a way through it.  “Aporian” is just the adjective meaning “having a blocked character”.

Years ago I worked as a management consultant, trading as “Aporia Consultants”.  I had a feeling that any question which left managers feeling blocked would be interesting and exploring why it made them feel blocked might help them to make progress.

Then, when I was doing work on the IT systems in a hospital, a doctor told me that “aporia” was an old-fashioned term for “constipation”.  You can see how that would work – feeling bunged up, unable to set things in motion.  I suppose it could also mean dense or thick, not the sort of image a management consultant would want.

I use it on this website because I still think that the feeling of having reached an impasse, though frustrating at the time, is often the start of an adventure.

Robin W. Ahlgren

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 Posted by at 21:43

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