Posts tagged ‘Quotes’

Think the unthinkable

February 28th, 2007

To achieve the impossible, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought.

— Tom Robbins

After you!

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.

Question me

February 10th, 2007

Every sentence that I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.

Niels Bohr (Danish physicist, 1885-1962)

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.

Usability of non-knowledge

January 29th, 2007

Knowledge may be defined in many ways. Sure, quite a number of people writing and talking about knowledge do not even care about defining knowledge (sorry no references here in order to protect the innocent). Moreover, one might deny the existence of varying definitions, though, I — personally — would see this as a sign of a view on knowledge differing from my own view.

Apparently, some people take the delicate concept of disfinism a step further: We do not know what knowledge is, therefore, naturally, let’s do research on non-knowledge, respectively ignorance and the unknown. (Mind you, I am not talking of myself I am just a liar.) Of course, this research shall add to the existing (scientific) knowledge (in contrast to existing non-knowledge).

As a side note, here is one more hint on why disfinism is a safe bet: As long as one does not define the concepts one’s work is based on, or the area to which one’s work applies, one can carelessly produce whatever others buy (or even do not buy). And they will, because consistency rules.

But is it of any use? The work? The knowledge? This blog?

You might well ask! As an example, let’s provide a definition for knowledge. Say, knowledge is what can be put into use, and what leads to something useful. In this sense, we may want to define non-knowledge as what cannot be put into use, or is useless (not to mention that this definition could come in useful). Please note that this is only an example of perhaps minor use — depending on your definition of use. Also, you might want to limit this definition’s scope to what is nonphysical.

What happens as you start gathering (useful) knowledge while you try not to accumulate non-knowledge, while you try to separate what is useful from what is useless, while you weed out ignorance, while you warn your fellows of possible non-knowledge, intended ignorance, and the temporally unknown?

Here is an answer by Bill Watterson’s character Calvin:

The more you know, the harder it is to take decisive action. Once you become informed, you start seeing complexities and shades of gray. You realize that nothing is as clear and simple as it first appears. Ultimately, knowledge is paralyzing.
Being a man of action I can’t afford to take that risk.

Is this knowledge useful? It’s hard to decide, isn’t it!?

iexertinertia <--> rattus rattus <--> …

January 27th, 2007

A recent conversation on rats, cats, life, and other music:

Should I fly more rats over to you?

Sure! But, please, slowly! You know, they tend to multiply so damn fast.

You could get a cat to keep the rats in check in the meanwhile.

She’s welcome!

I can imagine the occasional bloody scenes.

This is what I love about music, especially Blues and Rock, I guess.

(Trying to see a link)

You mean to see the trees instead of the wood?
Rats do what Ouroboros stand for.
In absence of cats they get self-caught.
(See, this is why cats often playfully try to catch their tails, too.)
Rats and cats are like counterparts.
Essential elements of life.

You have sent me both. So life is complete.
And of course there is blood (life’s fuel).

Perhaps, there is music that tries to paint all in blue, or black, or white, bright and shiney. I think, if an Ouroboros were to play music it would be Blues-Rock.

Sure, music tries to paint pictures, but it’s most of the time too unreal. Which is what makes it addictive.

And then, it is in some way real, or the unreal is real, or it becomes real, or realized.

If everything goes in circles life seems so banal; to be born to die, to gain something to lose it later, to learn something and find that it’s useless/wrong etc. Like time passes just to be passed.

If you see it this way you can use your life’s time for whatever pleases you. Not that bad a deal.

With pleasure.

[Many thanks to iexertinertia.]

Do I contradict myself?

January 15th, 2007

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

— Walt Whitman, Song of Myself in Leaves of Grass

Be someone else

January 4th, 2007

if you find it difficult to be yourself
then go ahead and be someone else
just don’t do it around me

tito & tarantula: dead person