Tyler, sitting in the front seat, and recuperating from his earlier vomiting episode, asked me, “Joe, what’s Zion mean?” Ty is 12 years old.
I answered him, “it’s the national park around here, very pretty apparently.”
“No, I mean what is it, what’s it mean?”
“Ah, where’s the word come from? That’s a very good question, there are several uses of Zion around. The first one I can think of is that ‘Zionists’ are those who are in favor of returning the Jews to Isreal. In that sense I think it means something like “homeland” or “home.” This was my first answer. “Another sense is that Rastafarians refer to Zion as a kind of promised land, seeing themselves as a kind of lost tribe.” I believe that there are also uses of the word in The Book of Mormon sort of like this, but I don’t really know the details of that.”
We were both quiet for a while.
Then I added: “It’s a word that means a lot of different things to different people, but basically it’s a good place, home.”
He very quickly said, “and there’s the city of Zion in The Matrix.”
I replied “I hadn’t even thought of that, but yes, absolutely — there’s an example of the creators using a word with a lot ot meaning in their own work.”
I was pretty surprised by two things in this little “on the road” interchange. The first is that even without access to Wikipedia (Zion), I didn’t do too bad in my answer. The second is that Tyler’s question was a really good one. One which made me want to do further research for myself. Also, I had forgotten about the Matrix connection altogether, and the connection was quite germane, and it was Ty who brought it to the table here.
It’s moments like that that make a long drive fun. And do read that Zion article, it’s pretty interesting stuff. I was not precisely correct, but my Rasta comment was right on.
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