Posts tagged ‘flaw’


May 21st, 2007

A flaw is a difference which makes a difference
only as long as it is a flaw.


All is truth

February 15th, 2007

O me, man of slack faith so long!
Standing aloof—denying portions so long;
Only aware to-day of compact, all-diffused truth;
Discovering to-day there is no lie, or form of lie, and can be none, but grows as inevitably upon itself as the truth does upon itself,
Or as any law of the earth, or any natural production of the earth does

(This is curious, and may not be realized immediately—But it must be realized;
I feel in myself that I represent falsehoods equally with the rest,
And that the universe does.)

Where has fail’d a perfect return, indifferent of lies or the truth?
Is it upon the ground, or in water or fire? or in the spirit of man? or in the meat and blood?
Meditating among liars, and retreating sternly into myself, I see that there are really no liars or lies after all,
And that nothing fails its perfect return—And that what are called lies are perfect returns,
And that each thing exactly represents itself, and what has preceded it,
And that the truth includes all, and is compact, just as much as space is compact,
And that there is no flaw or vacuum in the amount of the truth—but that all is truth without exception;
And henceforth I will go celebrate anything I see or am,
And sing and laugh, and deny nothing.

Walt Whitman, All is Truth. First published in ‘Leaves of Grass’ 1855.

To prepare for the unknown unknown

February 4th, 2007

At the workshop “Nichtwissen in der Wissensgesellschaft” (Ignorance in Information Society), when the discussions eventually boiled down to one of the workshops focal questions — how to deal with the unknown unknownUlrich Müller-Herold gave an illustrative example:

Imagine an aircraft manufacturer has just assembled a newly developed airplane that now is scheduled for its maiden test flight. To minimize all possible risks the airplane has gone through extensive ground testing, and a highly experienced test pilot is chosen.

Still, during the maiden flight unexpected circumstances might arise. So, we may ask what can be done in advance to be able to react as appropriately as possible. For instance, one of perhaps many measures, which the manufacturer may take, is to require the pilot to be completely sober.

What a wonderful example! First, it well illustrates the problem. What can mankind do to stay sober? Second, it even points out a solution. Like we should sharpen our whiskers. Third, and most importantly, it’s flawed.

When I said to Müller-Herold that I found his example very appropriate because it was flawed he told me a story of Heinrich Böll who once calmly replied to a critic that one could reach one’s goal limping, too. (“Herr Böll, der Vergleich hinkt.” — “Ach, man kann auch hinkend sein Ziel erreichen”, here quoted after Joachim Kaiser.)

But, if mankind was not limping probably there would have never been a goal. If an example is to illustrate a flaw it does so well if it is flawed itself. And, indeed, perfectly flawed it is.