In common usage, the word detritus is said to come from the French détritus, from Latin detritus, past participle of deterere, and this seems to satisfy most scholars. However, the etymology is seldom pursued to its source, the ancient Greek philosopher from whose name the word was abstracted.
Understandably, much of the philosophy of Detritus has disintegrated. It is the purpose of this essay to reconstruct it by reverse-engineering.
Here is an example of reverse-engineering:
What you see is Jibboom Street Bridge, a truss bridge spanning the confluence of two great rivers. American River joins the Sacramento River at this location, much as the Electromagnetic Continuum merges with the Gravitational Continuum to compose our Cosmos. Jibboom Bridge was built in the 1930s with its central truss motorized to swivel on a central pivot of concrete and steel. This allowed tall ships to pass and worked fine for decades until it got stuck and several vessels were reduced to detritus upon it.
If you peer under its right half, you can see the lower decks of the sternwheeler, Delta King, moored at the lower end of Sacramento City. King is tall and cannot pass Jibboom Street any more. Its cosmos has shrunk, but has it deteriorated toward detritus? Here is another picture:
I suppose these musings might have to do with turning 65 years old this month, and having long worked outdoors which turned me to jerky, but secretly I look into mirrors with some satisfaction that I have aged every minute of my life. Away from mirrors, except for those employed for purposes of internal reflection upon the Cosmos, I delight in having made up the great Greek philosopher Detritus, and consigned him beyond either terminus of general existence, without the least detrimental effect upon my sanity or longevity --even though such a luminary would greatly simplify philology.
Happy New Year!