Posts tagged ‘etymology’

A soft cut

November 16th, 2008

For those who know what science means in its very original sense it is obvious that the exact sciences are at least the lesser of two evils. No one wants contused lacerations.

[E] [w] [X]

A crisis

November 14th, 2008

Dow Jones Industrial index 1900-2008

[Dow Jones Industrial Average Index from 1900 until today on a logarithmic scale; chart courtesy of, click the image for details.]

Now that there is so much talk about the (financial) crisis I see that the word crisis of course shares its etymology with one of my most favorite words: critique.
Come on folks, let’s have a closer look. Let’s be critical about the “crisis”.


Colors of care

April 14th, 2007

In “le rouge sans le noirCairo Otaibi wrote

sometimes we do not care, those are the good times.

And because it is not right what you say I so much trust your words.

[X] [X]


January 24th, 2007

Constructivism is easy to explain: Don’t!1


The basic assumption (or condition) is that there is you. From this it follows that there’s something which — or somebody who — is not you.2

Getting to know what is not youCorollary

In order to know you need to know about what is not you. Thus, whatever you want to know about what is not you needs to find some way into you.

The English language has a huge number of terms for these “ways”: Learn, observe, perceive, watch, hear, realize, comprehend, get, … you name it. Their essential aspect is that something is happening (on the way). Let’s call this the “process of perception” (but you may call it whatever you prefer).

That’s it.

In other words, constructivism acknowledges that — if you assume that there is you and something or somebody who is not you — there is something in between. For instance, a medium (that needs to be passed), some time (that goes by), an act of observation, sensory receptions, a recognition, maybe a translation, a calculation, or a memorization, and probably some thinking. Or else, you wouldn’t be able to know about what is not you.

The visual system (like of human beings), as well as any other sensory system, or a close look into a human eye illustrates the multitude of processes which is involved with the “process of perception”.

Varieties of constructivism

The specifics of the “process of perception” are interpreted and described in varying ways by the many facets of constructivism. Also, some forms of constructivism confine their theories to less general distinctions of you versus what is not you (e.g. social constructivism examines mostly social relations like you and a friend, groups of people, or societies, and how those perceive each other and everything else).

[Radical constructivism] starts from the assumption that knowledge (…) is in the heads of persons, and that the thinking subject has no alternative but to construct what he or she knows on the basis of his or her own experience.
Ernst von Glasersfeld3


Constructivism offers ways of perceiving perception.
If you prefer other perceptions of constructivism, welcome aboard.


1) The presented text is no explanation apart from the fact that you might view it as a plain representation flattened out on a computer screen or paper.
2) If for whatever reason you cannot agree here, either because you think there is only you, or because you think nothing exists independently of you, then you can stop reading since you are already thinking in a most constructivistic manner.
3) Ernst von Glasersfeld: Radical Constructivism. A Way of Knowing and Learning. London: Falmer Press 1995. Page 1.

Don’t make me cry

November 27th, 2006

Ratta pointing out Dont make me cry

Claiming responsibility

November 4th, 2006

The following took place in the context of a lecture series on human ecology. One evening, after talks a speaker and friend of mine asked me how I perceive the lectures. I answered that I am thinking about responsibility. Next she wanted to know what were the results of my thinkings. I said: Responsibility.

By then we had reached the building’s exit door. She said bye, and off she was.


Attention whores

September 10th, 2006

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it,
does it make a sound?
George Berkeley (1561-1626)

Beware of attention! Enough people, it might seem, wrote about the term attention whore. The Urban Dictionary expressively explains attention whore. The Uncyclopedia shows some imagery. Wonderful writer Cairo Otaibi pretended to out herself in a comment to No comment is a comment. Google lists a gazillion of results, and even more so, quite a number of people say: We are all attention whores.

I agree!
For it is such a nice example of a lying liar. And of course, we are all attention whores. Assuming some aren’t we wouldn’t know about them, would we?

Attention! A digression: If we are all attention whores, and if we cannot know about those who aren’t, might this prove that we are all liars because we wouldn’t know of people who tell the truth?

Attention again! An answer: Truth is that those telling the truth are the actual liars. — I wonder who could read this out of George Berkeley’s writings.

Thinking of perception, like in how we perceive a tree, does the tree create a mental notion, or does our mind create the tree? Is attention an attention whore’s service, or is she paid by it?

Ouroboros, you are her mother.

Words ought not to be trusted

July 8th, 2006

Words ought not to be trusted – you can never be sure if they mean what they say.
Ashleigh Brilliant

Let’s assume that when people say something they generally mean something different. Then, the question “What do you mean?” generally makes no sense at all.

If you think that some people at least sometimes do say what they mean, well, I anyway do understand something different from what they say let alone what they mean.

So, what does it mean when someone says that she or he makes a lot of use of dictionaries and thesauruses searching for word origins? Like Dave Pollard just wrote? Or like half of my own blog?

What does it mean if someone is especially picky about words, if we try to be precise, if we try to avoid obfuscation and ambiguity, and if we moreover foster meaning with references?

Experts of wording driving away from their audience, burying augury of knowledge in wisdom, the paradox of communication, blatant honesty about lying.

Of course, this makes sense to us, anyway.