If someone asked you to define the word “Notorious“. How would you define it? Wait…don’t look up the dictionary.

You would most likely say, “Someone infamous, scandalous, ill-famed for notoriety”. Perhaps you will jump into explaining with examples such as Genghis Khan the conqueror, Vlad the Impaler, Jack the Ripper? How about Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung? History is rampant with evil personalities and folk lore abounds with stories of their misdeeds.

But sometimes dark evil places, infamous for evil committed years ago can be notorious too. How about dangerous places that are either difficult to reach or so unfriendly to habitation that they invoke our awe despite their looming danger. Places like the “suicide forest” in Japan, Grand Canyon in Arizona, Valley of Death in Russia, Erte volcano in Ethiopia (gates to hell) and many more.

Now would you consider something as nebulous as “thoughts” to be notorious? But thoughts can be pretty notorious, right? Random thoughts can be rather disturbing when you need peace of mind…isn’t it? Imagine a train of negative thoughts that won’t let you be happy. How about the time you are trying to meditate and you just cannot because random thoughts won’t stop bothering you. Students will agree nothing can be more destructive than random thoughts when they are trying to focus on a lecture or taking an exam.

Yet dark places and people carry the greatest intrigue for us. Even though what can hurt us the most is not other people or dark distant places but ourselves. We alone can ruin our peace of mind and chances for success more than anything else in the world.

That puts a different perspective on things completely, doesn’t it? Now over to you, what is the first thing that comes to mind with the word notorious?

erta ale volcano