The Return of the Useless

Hello everyone!

After a long hiatus, I will finally return to blogging. This time with more regular posts and more interesting topics.

First up will be something I have been working on for a while — tracing out the connection of Technology (artifice) and Art through the interaction between humanity and its environment to make it fit better with their internal conceptions.

Stay tuned for some phone keyboard action. And fewer run-on sentences.

Stay useless,

-Rob

Many Kinds of Nothing

Hello readers, long time no vicarious mental contact. You’ve been waiting with bated breath I see. I appologize for my long hiatus, but work and school seems to take precedence in my life. As do my real life contacts, much to my co-incident chagrin and exuberance.

I am reading through “A Universe from Nothing” by Lawrence M. Krauss and have a lot brewing in my mind to discuss. The most interesting piece of the book, from a philosophical view, is in the introduction  of the book were Krauss discusses differing conceptions of “Nothing”. He seems to imply that “Nothing” has attributes and therefore can be considered to be within the realm of natural inquiry; that nothing is actually something. This becomes problematic to many ontologies, though I think this idea of the many concepts and kinds of nothing is quite helpful. And does explain why we are actually able to speak of “nothing”, nothing, and No-thing.

Regardless of your point of view, the idea of nothing (idea here used to denote the totality of the concepts espoused by people, though don’t hold me to that for I am not so rigorous) as a negation of or an opposition to something, anything, and thingness per se, is certainly of interest and a strong launching point for inquiry. Whether I will tend to believe that Krauss’s accusation that the “Philosopher’s and Theologians'” conception of nothing with regards to the beginnings of the universe (characterized as that without attributes or scrutability, the literal absence of any-Thing) to be a category mistake will be determined in a following post when I finish the book. What chiefly interests me is the idea that the origins of the universe has a chiefly scientific solution that all other paths of inquiry must give priority is another point upon which him and I might differ.

All things considered, by the time I finish the analysis of “A Universe from Nothing” I shall be many pages and many weeks in the future. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy… if you can.

The End of Language

Josh and myself were having a constructive conversation about the topic of the next blog post in his A to Z series. Having to do with a title starting with the letter “U”, I threw out the line “Ubiquitous Indecision”. It led immediately into a discussion about existentialism and the felt fact of living life as though we are always in a state of indecision due to the fact that we can never really decide everything for all time. Then it turned just as abruptly to language and its role in society.

Keeping true to our respective philosophical roots we both had an idea about the ends of language, yet approached it from functionally different sides. As I tend to focus more upon usage  and utility of ideas than their meaning, I led off with the idea that language ought to be thought of as communicative, and that being communicative having to use separate languages was fruitless. Having to practice and become comfortable with radically different grammatical and phonetic forms to express a similar idea would take too much time and too much effort if all we wish to do is increase the linkage between one’s mind and another set of minds. The idea that got this going was one expressed in the children’s show Word Girl:

“It’s not the size of the word that matters,

it is whether it is the right word at the right time”

This really got me thinking when I was a teenager as to what exactly we think of language. Is it the case that the audience dictates the size of the words? I thought not as we cannot know what would be appropriate until we actually use the word we intend. What then could it be? Do we want to get a meaning across. Certainly we do. But it seems that no matter how much we intend to mean, something always gets lost in even the best transmissions of meaning.

This lead me to my idea that language is meant to confer a meaning, but that meaning is not language itself. Language was and is a means to communicate a meaning. The end of the act of speech is to confer a meaning, The end of a language is to communicate. 

The distinction between the act of speech and the existence of language gave a problem of  accounting for time. Would it in fact be the case that we should optimize the transfer of meaning and not communicate unless we have the best of all possible methods of communicating? Again, the concept from word girl lent me and idea. “The right word at the right time“. Brilliant. That gave me an out to posit a practical advantage to not learning new phonetics and grammar ever time we wish to communicate something a different language has better. We can simply use it to save time, and pronounce only that word if we wish in that language’s particular accent without having to sacrifice our natural grammar to do so.

The transcription of a word from one grammatical context to another has the added benefit of standing out. “What does this person mean when they say ‘guima-yerpe’?” That question offers the chance for an explanation and a chance for another word to pop up that could be considered a more natural fit for whichever language you happen to be speaking. Explaining that “guima-yerpe” means to blog about the sublimation of a word from one grammar system to another without losing its meaning might lead one to develop an in-language word for such an action. Such as consolidated-meaning-blogging, or consomeaniblogging. Or say, changing the pronunciation from the natural grammar setting to the adopted grammar setting. Instead of Guima-yerpe it could become gi-me-yer-piece. Or some such thing.

None of the add-ons seem to destroy the idea of language having a tendency towards communication. Nor does it usurp the place of meaning in conversation. It is simply that language qua language does not care in the end about the meaning of a phrase, only whether it is communicated effectively.

Introductions

It is far past time that I created a blog for all of my unfinished ideas and unpolished aphorisms. I hope to make this blog a stand out in the philosophy community and the public mind as much as I can. The reader of this blog can be assured that all mistakes, illusions, falsehoods, and errors are honest. Except when they are made clear through sarcasm to not be so.

This blog will contain lots of interactions with the blog Res Studiorum et Ludorum. Josh and I have been friends since we were but boys but it is only recently that we learned and explored our shared love of logic, religion, and philosophy. Though we agree on most things, we vastly differ on our approach to religion and spirituality as he is a devout and scholastic-esque catholic and I am a spirited naturalistic atheist. This leads to many less arguments than one would think as most of our conversations remain polite and topical. Much of this is owed to our shared Canadian virtue and the mastery with which we act upon it.

In the rest of the blog I will attempt to use the hodgepodge knowledge of history, mathematics, video games, economics, literature, science, and physical skills which make up my life to give a unique and often sarcastic take on reality, truth, and beauty. I shall try my best to be faithful to the material I study and rigorous in my examination of them. I shall also try to make it fun and entertaining with a minimum of unilateral third-party interventioning (name dropping) and big words.