My interest in this sentence stems from its length and the questioning tone it carries. Besides it being a micro narrative it also has a tone of friendliness and at the end of its reading one cannot help but want to know just how possible it is to ‘hold on’ in the midst of change ‘to business’. How else can we understand the meaning of the word ‘Axis’ in this syntactic construction? May I hazard to say that the gravitational pull change which results in the Earth changing its position as it spins on its axis is hereby equated to a change in the business world, what is interesting is the resultant phenomena of the Earth Shifting Axis, which results in our seasonal changes. Seasonal changes affect all organisms on earth.
If we allow ourselves the latitude we can have a textual gymnastic with this sentence. The words ‘shifts Axis’, read together, which at their form are composed of a verb and a noun respectively are functioning as an adjectival focus in that they tells us what is happening to the earth. But not in the cosmic sense due to the context set by the word business. The sentence can be taken apart and its constituencies can be witnessed as:
hold on to
Should this expression be presented without these features much of what it tries to convey would be changed. It can end up referring to something else in the face of a substitution process other than the difficulties of running a business in a changing financial environment. What would be lost would be the business context should we wish to substitute the word ‘business’ itself. What could be gained through substitution by replacing the noun business with another noun that has nothing to do with the business world, an endless array of possibilities if we go wild. But the retention of the latter part of the sentence is paramount so that it continues to specify what is happening to the newly introduced noun within a changing environment. Importantly at the end of such an exercise we would learn the engineering of this textual construction and its operation as an expression will be clearer. The trick will be the retention of what is happening to the subject noun in the latter part of syntactic construction:
– as the Earth shifts Axis
Suppose I substitute the word ‘business’ with ‘balls’ or ’ bags’ or ‘sandwich’ and still retain the original sentence structure. In the case of balls being our subject noun the reader may start to have a mental picture of a juggler or a tennis player. We can agree that the word balls will inevitably change the context of our sentence structure because it is our subject noun which in turn completes the picture read in a continues chain with the latter part of the syntactic construction. In a way our micro narrative perspective of the original syntactic construction changes because we are now concerned with holding on to balls rather than business. The same rule will apply if ‘bags’ became our subject noun or ‘sandwich’. In the earlier case of substituting ‘business’ with ‘balls’ the syntactic construction will be read as:
– How to hold on to balls as the Earth shifts Axis
Can a juggler skilfully hold on to his juggling while he looses balance due to the tilt of the earth? Thanks to gravitational pull he won’t lose his balls unless we keep adding to them as he juggles and maybe thrust funny faces into his juggling field as he juggles on. So here when we equate what we are saying in the modified sense of the new sentence structure to the original sentence structure we realise that the expression is talking about change and in the first instance it is referring to the business world where change can cause loss or gain of money as far as trade is concerned; remember how seasons commands our dress code? Faced with change a business savvy person will see to it that their investments are moved elsewhere to safeguard gains made.
I am not quite sure about the bag carrying person when they lose their balance just how much longer would they be able to hold on to their luggage; but in the midst of seasonal change we must expect that the contents of what is being carried would change with heavy coats and thermal underwear to keep warm. As for the sandwich one way of handling the change would be to cobble it down and then one need to just worry about maintaining their balance – holding on to things might just proof a life saver.
*this exposition is inspired by the title of an article that appeared in the Financial Mail 7 March 2013.
17 May, winter
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2013