Posts tagged ‘refers to’

Save the earth

March 17th, 2006

The most important aspect of trying to save earth is not to do so.

The Man Who Couldn’t Blog

March 14th, 2006

How do you say nothing? How do you explain silence? Can you paint no colors? What could illustrate the unknown? Can one lie?

What would a blogger blog about his inability to blog? The Man Who Couldn’t Blog likes to tell you in his blog but he can’t blog which is why he can and why his blog is such a marvelous blog about no blogging.

This and that

March 11th, 2006

This sentence does in fact not have the property it claims not to have.
— Robert Boeninger

A wonderful example of a not so obvious self-contradictory sentence. It is discussed in Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern by Douglas R. Hofstadter. Some more examples of paradoxical statements, a great illustration of troublesome self-reference, and why it simply is all about this and that may be found in the h2g2‘s entry on “self-reference“.

Zizek!

March 9th, 2006

Even promoting Slavoj Zizek is probably bound to lead oneself into the realms of self-contradiction. What helps is that Zizek himself is refreshingly honest and open about being a liar, a human being, yet a “monster” — his words, too.

There is a wonderful documentary film about Slavoj Zizek called “Zizek!” by Astra Taylor, released 2005, which well illustrates Zizek’s playful attitude towards life’s paradoxes and otherwise. Lauded and recommended though rarely shown in cinemas.

I hate writing. … my whole economy of writing is in fact based on an obsessional ritual to avoid the actual act of writing.
— Slavoj Zizek, author of quite a number of books

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)

Trust not truth

February 5th, 2006

Heinz von Foerster shares with us a beautiful riddle about trust and truth. When I wrote about it my working title was “Trust not truth”. I was thinking this title forth and back because one of my inner voices kept yelling something like “You can’t say one shall not trust the truth if Heinz von Foerster clearly shows that truth is based on trust. I mean, what else could we do but trust the truth?
Trust not truth is nonsense. Put it in your Nonsense Box.”

I did see that “trust not truth” can be read in many ways, too. One being “trust — not truth”. Yet, I eventually changed the title to “The problem is not truth” as if this was any less nonsense. But, I could always say it’s a quote of a quote of a quote :-) That’s why.

So, the problem is trust — not truth.
And this is the truth.

What? You mean there is probably more to it? You mean trust not truth? — Oh, yes, you got me on this one ’cause I am a liar.

I am a liar

January 29th, 2006

I am a liar, and you are probably not. I am even a member of the Club of Liars. Are you? What does it mean if someone says “I am no liar”?

That’s a tricky question. Maybe we should ask a scientist. Science “refers to a system of acquiring knowledge (…) aimed at finding out the truth” (Wikipedia, 2006-01-16). So, scientists should know. They are telling the truth, aren’t they?

Most scientists, like other people, too, are understandably eager to make us believe that they are at least not telling lies. Let’s assume for a mere moment that scientists do not always tell the truth — in fact, there are some hints for this. How do we know? If it is possibly a lie that scientists are not telling lies, what is it they are doing?

Was Epimenides the first scientist, indeed? Rats!

What do we know anyway? Never I would dare to state that I knew everything. I do like to learn, and I am sure there is a lot I do not know. So, what do we know about what we do not know? Might that what we do not know be even more important than what we know?

These are big questions. Aren’t they? Let’s ask whether they are. Or is this one?
No, I do not have any answers. But, I am afraid, this is an answer. You might think that this is all nonsense. Go ahead, I won’t object your objection. There are puns, games of words, even riddles, and paradoxes. Language is deceiving. (I love this one.) We are used to deal with everyday paradoxical situations, unanswerable questions, and double binds. Some say the fun ends where these games are to affect people but that’s just where it started.

(Last update: 2006-05-20)

Do you answer? No. — An answer.

January 21st, 2006

No answer is an answer.” (rattus rattus : )
We can read this in many ways. Though, if one says “No.” I’d take it for an answer. Even if the question was: “Do you answer?

Luckily, this simple paradox again and again leads to fruitful discussions:

Karen Kastenhofer once sent in a quote of some lines of e.e. cummings:

when god decided to invent
everything he took one
breath bigger than a circus tent
and everything began

when man determined to destroy
himself he picked the was
of shall and finding only why
smashed it into because

Karen then asked if anyone dares to answer.

My immediate answer was: No.
Karen replied (maybe wittily) with “O.K., this [answer] was unmistakable. Does anyone else dare to answer?”

Some did and some did not. Yet, every answer is no answer and no answer is an answer. Thus, I wrote a poem as an answer to Karen and e.e. cummings:

Don’t search for contradiction in others, you have found it already.

there him was in her mind full
fear, hope and reason threaded
together a place that was and
because of her will – be

there where no man can reach
shall truth be kept hidden
for only trust in the was
keeps what began at a living
life.

Or, as e.e. cummings is said to have written:
No need to “stand with your lover on the ending earth”.