Sunday, January 09, 2005

The detritus in my head

The difference between the poet and the mathematician was that the poet merely tried to get his head into the clouds while the mathematician tried to get the clouds into his head — and it was his head that split.
–G.K. Chesterton

The limits of science:
Modern science begins with the ejection of purpose, value and significance from the universe. This is one main reason why the "scientific world view" fails to deal with all aspects of reality.

What scientists believe but cannot prove, including that there is a God and that there is no God, that people make irrational choices, that true love exists. My favourite is from psychologist Alison Gopnik:
I believe, but cannot prove, that babies and young children are actually more conscious, more vividly aware of their external world and internal life, than adults are. I believe this because there is strong evidence for a functional trade-off with development. Young children are much better than adults at learning new things and flexibly changing what they think about the world. On the other hand, they are much worse at using their knowledge to act in a swift, efficient and automatic way. They can learn three languages at once but they can't tie their shoelaces.

Ryszard KapuĊ›cinski tells the awful truth of war (Can the man ever write! Read this!) (Via Media Dragon):
When there is talk of the year 1945, I am irritated by the phrase, "the joy of victory". What joy? So many people perished! Millions of bodies were buried! Thousands lost arms and legs; lost sight and hearing; lost their minds. Yes, we survived, but at what a cost! War is proof that man as a thinking and sentient being has failed.

"An unclean den of ethnic babble":
I came across the following sentence in a term paper recently. The student was about to describe how she had arrived at her conclusions. This is what she wrote: "The following methodology was utilized." I see this kind of thing all the time. Not "the following method was used"; not ever "this is what I did." Like nearly all the students I've taught, this young woman has learned to believe that the English language does not have room for her. That it is a secret code known only to the initiated. That the language she speaks is uneducated, inferior and incorrect. Hence the corseted tone, the vocabulary that strains at sophistication, the way she absents herself from her own writing. This is a student who has been taught to worship the volcano god of Correct English.
. . .Our language should be a playground; instead we make it into a minefield. . .
"The limits of my language," Wittgenstein said, "are the limits of my world."

Cranks &nd Lurkers, online poetry journal, invites you to vote and submit (Via
" eliminate the cronyism and narrow subjectivity endemic to traditional literary journals, and discover some of the best poems being written in English today."

Sixty aeropaintings exhibited in London:
Soar to the skies! Flight is heroic! Its changing perspectives mean a whole new reality and an absolute break with the past! Thus the Italian Futurists in one of their screaming manifestos, declaring war on the poor old art of humdrum earth. The plane, they announced, 'is the very symbol of Futurism'.

1 comment:

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

I hope this gets through. For some reason, the last two days have given me fits as to posting comments on some blogger sites.

In any case, I loved this post! More food for though here than even hoped for.

Phonetically, Jestem barzdo Shenshlive!