Archive for February, 2006

Agreement and diversity

February 28th, 2006

Those calling for agreement can’t accept intolerance.
Those calling for diversity won’t find much approval.

This is nothing new. These ideas date back to ancient times. They build ground for disadvantages as well as advantages of democracy. They apply to Sustainable Development as they do to liars’ blogs. I have only chosen words, words like placeholders, showing that the key notions of the quest for sustainability are bound by the same terms.

Of course, this is its very chance.

More of the same?

Those calling for agreement will struggle with diversity.
Those calling for diversity won’t find much agreement.
Those calling for consensus can’t accept intolerance.
Those calling for tolerance are afraid of self assurance.
Those calling for democracy can’t live with unity.
Those calling for change will fear conservation.

Those calling for tolerance cannot accept intolerance.
Those calling for freedom compete with freedom.

das maß der dinge

February 26th, 2006

Empfehlungen sind mit Vorsicht zu genießen. Beispielsweise mit der Vorsicht auf die Bühne des Akademietheaters, wo ich Neil LaBute’s “the shape of things” sehen und hören durfte — in einer wunderbaren Fassung von Igor Bauersima und gelungener deutscher Übersetzung von Jakob Kraut: das maß der dinge.

Es war ein Fehler! (Adam, eingestehend)
— Ja. Wie groß war der Fehler? (Evelyn)

Ein faszinierendes Spiel mit Dichotomien, in dem sich unversehens die Zuschauerinnen und Zuschauer wiederfinden, und nicht nur als ebensolche.

Frag nicht warum, wenn das Was vor dir steht. (Evelyn)

Damit ein Ding ein Ding wird, unterscheiden wir es von dem, was noch nicht das Ding ist, was aber doch schon Ding war. Und das Maß selbst nicht minder, das universelle Messer, mit dem wir Gut und Böse trennen, mit dem wir unsere geschätzten und dann lieb gewonnenen Dinge im Maß halten. Auch modellieren, und sei’s mit Schönheitsoperationen.

Es war kein Statement, das war Pornographie. (Jenny)
— Es war keine Pornographie, das war ein Statement. (Evelyn)

Argumente und Begründungen sind schnell gefunden, Hauptsache wir haben Unterscheidungen, an denen wir festhalten können. “Provozieren kann jeder” heißt es, aber “es muss Grenzen geben”. Eben. Die Grenzen der Grenzziehung.
Was ist Kunst? Was ist Wissen(schaft)? Was ist ein Experiment? Und wo sind die Grenzen? Schnell wird das Theaterstück selbst zum Experiment.

Wer war ich vor dem Experiment?
Wer bin ich jetzt? — Joachim Lux, im Programmheft

In Wien bietet sich am Montag, 6. März 2006 nochmal Gelegenheit zur wärmstens empfohlenen Vorsicht im Akademietheater um 20 Uhr: das maß der dinge. Oder:

Dann müssen wir uns wohl darauf einigen, dass wir uns nicht einigen. (Adam)

There is specific knowledge

February 22nd, 2006

If someone claims that there is specific knowledge about something you are in fact expected to accept her or his view of it.

This is not only a lie in the sense that I expect you to accept my view of my knowledge about someone’s claims.
It’s a statement that provokes self-contradiction per se in the sense that knowledge is somewhere, for instance, printed in books or published in papers. Knowledge, here, is understood as something that can be reasoned, explained, discovered, acquired, agreed upon, and verified, or at least falsified.

But, if there is such a thing as a view of knowledge, if there are people who believe to know something and who believe that others do not, then knowledge does depend on someone’s perspective.

Whenever I say “it is known that” or “we know that” I’d always rather expect someone else’s denial.

By the way, I find it very interesting to search Google for phrases such as “it is known that“, and “we know that“.

Being not understood

February 21st, 2006

I pretty much have to live with the fact of being not understood.


February 20th, 2006

This blog is out of order!

We are currently facing a major power blackout. This reminds me of an old question: How do you know whether something is out of order?
One day, I have seen a modern touch screen terminal where you are supposed to buy tickets. The screen was lid and it showed the clearly readable text: “Out of order!”. Obviously, the machine was not out of order.
A typing machine typing OUT OF ORDER
How can you make a machine say that it is out of order, if it apparently is not when it does say so? I’d say smash it with a slash hammer, and stick up a sheet of paper that reads — handwritten, of course: Out of order!

Pulling the power plug often helps, too. ;-)

Proving a true statement

February 16th, 2006

Have you ever tried to prove something indirectly? I am pretty sure you are doing it all day long. According to Wikipedia, see Wikipedia: Indirect Proof, it is as simple as the following:

If you have no water, you can’t make coffee.

This seems to be undoubtedly true to me, at least since adolescence. And it is because water is one of the essential ingredients for coffee.
Let us apply the nice rules of Indirect Proving to another statement that is true.

First the statement itself:
This statement is true.

Now, we assume that it is wrong (meaning “we have no water”). Then we will see if this leads to a contradiction (or something as unbearable as “being unable to make more coffee”).

If the statement is wrong, that is
“This statement is true” is wrong.
it follows that This statement is wrong. Because of this, saying the statement is wrong, it follows that The statement is true. But this contradicts our assumption.

Witty readers probably see that the proof did not precisely lead to a contradiction but to a paradox. Let me suggest that for a moment, we adopt this paradoxical situation here as being as futile as a contradiction.

Well, here is another example of an often heard, and certainly true statement right for you to try out what we have just learned:

I am saying the truth.

. . .

Contradict me!

February 14th, 2006

Go ahead, contradict me!

Cooking Coffee

February 12th, 2006

Here is a simple recipe for making good coffee:

  • Get good green beans, e.g. Jamaica Blue Mountain.
  • Roast them yourself using a home coffee roaster.
  • Wait about 24 hours.
  • Use a good burr mill and grind at the appropriate grade.
  • Brew the coffee immediately after grinding.
  • If you want espresso use a good espresso machine, e.g. a Vibiemme Domobar.
  • For coffee other than espresso use a French press.
  • In any case use fresh water.

A cup of espressoFor more in depth information about making coffee I recommend Wikipedia’s entry on Coffee, Sweet Maria’s Coffee Roasting Library and The Coffee And Coffee Makers’ Guide (on until 2014).

If you follow this to the core you will get delicious coffee, yet in no way is following even the best recipe a guarantee for good coffee. In fact, a complex thing such as coffee is likely to show you every side of life pretty much always.