Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Pelevin S.N.U.F.F.


I'd feared Victor Pelevin, the author of the contemporary book that gave me most pleasure, The Clay Machine Gun, had in a sense had his day or whose inner star had faded . . . but after a ridiculous & strange delay in his works being translated, I recently read his S.N.U.F.F. and thankfully his unique genius and x-ray and liberating cultural vision is pretty rampant again. In his way something of a modern Russian Aldous Huxley, and it's not unrelated to both Brave New World and Ape and Essence. I don't think he considers potential critical fawning over his works as having much to do with his existential state of being, and can be pretty flippant with his art . . . but anyway have no aptitude - cloaking maybe a lack of talent - for writing about books so just to say I thought overall S.N.U.F.F. not faultless, but still fantastic, and will re-read soon.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Extract

"What you think of this? It's from me new book:

'Death came like a bitch in stilletos.'

"It's very good."

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Universal

Professional football has been declared the new official universal language at a special sitting of the United Nations Security Council. All relevant international documents will henceforth have to be translated into professional football, with failure to comply resulting of course in 'serious sanctions'.
'It is in the act of watching professional football that we are most alike unto ourselves,' stated a subsidiary UN press release.

Bono has welcomed the news.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Doubt

"We live in a great era of doubt."
"I doubt that."

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Stars & Water Carriers

Featuring Eddy Merckx, in a way for me one of the most out-of-reach of people, a superman of some kind - and not in a superficial sense. Fuente, the Spaniard mountain specialist, is the one incidentally I seem to more emotionally resonate with.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Friday, 10 April 2015

A Big Pot

"There was this fucker with a big pot."
"What?"
"A big pot. And inside in the pot he had all this shit, and he stirred it all round and around and then he poured it all out from this great height he was up in. And that's the world we live in today."
"That's the world we live in today?"
"Yes, if you like it's a kind of myth, like the Book of Genesis."
"And what good is that bloody myth going to do anyone?"
"It might lift people up."
"Lift them up?! A fucker with a big pot of shit?"
"Well if they realise that's what everything comes from, this fallen world, they might try to get beyond it instead of just wallowing in all this shit."
"Kind of gnosticism so, a divided world you're talking about?"
"Something like that maybe yeah."

Grey

A world, grey, dull, uniform, monotonous, and what would it do if you weren't careful but extend itself in extension of itself so to speak, that is never-ending greyness inside and out. But people got maybe all too fed up with it after a time and so what was done with all this greyness, uniformness, etc? They coloured it in! And that was of course much better.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Shakhtar

"You've a very thoughtful expression."
"I always be thinking."
"And what do you be thinking about?"
"I wouldn't know what I be thinking about half the time. It'd be very clever though, way over your head."
"Give me an example."
"Shakhtar Donetsk."
"What?!"
"Shakhtar Donetsk. It's a soccer team out in Eastern Europe there somewhere. I was thinking about them the other day."
"God that's amazing. And what put them into your head?"
"Oh I dunno. Ours is not to reason why."

Monday, 9 February 2015

Cave


"So there was this cave . . . "
"Not the fucking cave again."
"Ah come on, give him a chance. "
"Well as long as he doesn't start going on about the bloody shadows on the wall."
" . . . and on a wall of the cave were these shadows . . . "

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Paul Craig Roberts - Charlie Hebdo . . . Operation Gladio

Paul Craig Roberts was the US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. Full article here.He writes:

"The Charlie Hebdo affair has many of the characteristics of a false flag operation. The attack on the cartoonists’ office was a disciplined professional attack of the kind associated with highly trained special forces . . . yet they conveniently left for the authorities their ID in the getaway car. Such a mistake is inconsistent with the professionalism of the attack and reminds me of the undamaged passport found miraculously among the ruins of the two WTC towers that served to establish the identity of the alleged 9/11 hijackers."

He also mentions the infamous Operation Gladio. "The largest part of the government of Italy was ignorant of the bombings conducted by the CIA and Italian Intelligence against European women and children and blamed on communists in order to diminish the communist vote in elections."

From my own previous piece on Gladio:
Originally aired on BBC2 in 1992, 'Operation Gladio' reveals 'Gladio', the secret state-sponsored terror network operating in Europe.
Director Allan Frankovich:
This BBC series is about a far-right secret army, operated by the CIA and MI6 through NATO, which killed hundreds of innocent Europeans and attempted to blame the deaths on Baader Meinhof, Red Brigades and other left wing groups. Known as 'stay-behinds' these armies were given access to military equipment which was supposed to be used for sabotage after a Soviet invasion. Instead it was used in massacres across mainland Europe as part of a CIA Strategy of Tension. Gladio killing sprees in Belgium and Italy were carried out for the purpose of frightening the national political classes into adopting U.S. policies.

Italian Prime minister Giulio Andreotti (DC) publicly recognized it on October 24, 1990, though naturally spinning a very soft-focus version of its nature, and spoke of a "structure of information, response and safeguard", with arms caches and reserve officers.
Actions carried out by Gladio in particular included the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, the 1972 Peteano attack by Vincenzo Vinciguerra and the 1980 Bologna train massacre.
State-sponsored terrorism, the simple purpose being to carry out terrorist attacks, blame them broadly on the forces you wish to attack, and also carry out the consequential strict internal measures/states of emergency necessary to protect the public from the dreadful people carrying out these attacks. The state attacks its citizens, therefore give the state more power to protect its citizens. Very simple and effective as shown in more recent examples of the same methods.


.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Ingres and Feminism . . . again

In celebration of the New Year, I've dug into the bowels of this blog & am re-posting the remains of this piece . . . that is to say, obviously with the exception of this opening sentence the rest has appeared previously & is now appearing again, not that it has stopped appearing in the first place.

                                 .....................................................................................................

Following on from the recent post involving Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, a post on his much undervalued role as an intellectual patron and artistic chronicler of the liberating force of feminism. Below is one of the leading figures of the emerging movement that changed the landscape of life, Venus Anadyomène, painted by Ingres in slightly allegorical mode. Anadyomène was regarded by the ruling elites as "one of the most dangerous people in Europe" for her radical views regarding universal suffrage.

Ingres' most important work as chronicler of the rise of feminism is the painting below, which shows the first organised meeting of like-minded women from around Europe to debate and formulate strategies for the campaign ahead. Ingres, the only male present, was requested by Anadyomène to record the event for posterity, which , given the sociological climate of the time, he intentionally misleadingly titled The Turkish Bath. Noone will deny Ingres has managed to capture something of the tension of the heated exchanges that occured at that seminal gathering.

And finally, below is a painting of the extremist figure, still only known by her nom de plume, The Source, by which the painting is still known. She believed the ends justified the means, and women were duty bound to resort to violence to further the struggle.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Survival of the FIttest 2 - Economics . . .

In the last post, Survival of the Fittest, I alluded to the idea of that doctrine being the justification of an aggressive egotism in the political-economic sphere. In the post as a whole was shown how self-sacrifice is an immeasurably higher principle in the perpetuation of at least higher life-forms - not denying that principle of egotism or self-centred strength as an aspect of life but is nonetheless very minor compared to the giving of oneself and one's energies for others, as most obviously in the raising of the young, without which there would be no ongoing life with which to compete for anything.

Anyway, here a quick look at that 'Darwinian' ethos or justification for the principle of hard egotism within the political/economical sphere or spheres, and how true the principle could be said to be. In a previous piece I wrote:

Poker is capitalism in something like its pure form - the only product being exchanged is money. And if a game of poker is indefinitely continued, all the money will find its way progressively into fewer and fewer hands.

Poker here is of course so useful as it equates to a purity of environment unattainable within the complexity of the human world proper, and so within these more or less perfect laboratory conditions is seen that arch-competitiveness leads to a total narrowing of the field of existence to the point of just one surviving winner or 'species'.

How well does this then equate to the living environment? Could life in any way be said to parallel this extreme, even total narrowing of the surviving forms as shown if the principle is given free-play within the perfect economic conditions of the poker game? And so given the almost endless profligacy of life-forms within life, the attempt to sum up life as primarily conforming to this dominant principle, which in turn handily justifies the purity of egotism within economic and political fields, is hopelessly inadequate. Within a strictly confined environment where the survival of the fittest principle is allowed free and dominant rein what results is an ever narrowing constriction inwards, as one would expect since this is what egotism is: a narrowing inwards; whereas in the open field of life, what by almost total contrast occurred in terms of multiplicity of life-forms is an enormous expansion outwards.

These inane simplifications as critiqued here one could say are the workings of a primitive or embryonic form of intelligence, trying to reduce life to crude intellectual forms comprehensible to and symptomatic of itself.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Surivial of the Fittest?


"You know that survival of the fittest idea as the kind of overarching of idea for life, beneath which everything else bows down. And even extending into spheres like economics or political philosophies  as a kind of final truth of egotism."
"Yeah, what about it?"
"It doesn't really work, does it."
"Why not?"
"Because if it was the over-ruling idea of life, then for the higher animals anyway life wouldn't get very far, or rather it wouldn't get going in the first place."
"Why's that?"
"Isn't it obvious - think about babies, in the wild they're all more or less totally helpless if left to their own, and so wouldn't survive if not for the self-sacrifices of the fittest, the adults. So self-sacrifice is a far higher principle for life than any kind of egotism, within which notion life would quickly die out with the pure selfishness of the self-serving individual. Though of course the self-serving individual wouldn't exist in the first place without the self-sacrifice of its parent or parents to bring through its long period of basic helplessness. And it's no good talking about this as being about species rather than individuals, because what kind of egotism is it that sacrifices itself for the good of the species? That's the opposite of egotism. And so all-in-all self-sacrifice is obviously enough a far higher principle for life."
"I'll have to think about it."

Friday, 21 November 2014

Good

"What do you think of yer man Obama?"
"The fella playing him is pretty good all right yeah."

Friday, 7 November 2014

Cluster - Rosa


German band Cluster, comprised of Hans Roedelius & Dieter Moebius, from their 1974 album 'Zuckerzeit'. With guitarist Michael Rother they formed Harmonia and below is 'Sehr Kosmisch' from the album 'Musik von Harmonia' also released in 1974.

 
Though - and I don't know why I feel the need to be so educational - a more typical Harmonia piece is Watussi below:
 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Terrorists

"You're of course a great socio-political expert, a connoisseur if you will in government. What can you tell us about how to deal with terrorists."
"Well, if they didn't exist, you'd have to make them up."

Sticks

A long path led away from the town and up a steep climb; not the most well-trodden of paths especially the further it went, but still far from unwalked. It continued on up to the top of the climb and, while the path became fainter and fainter as the climb progressed, its existence could still be discerned, even if fading as it progressed to little more than the steps themselves - that is the steps and path became one and the same.

A man appeared in the town, seemingly more used to urban living, not the most physically imposing or impressive, glasses beneath which greedy, bird-like eyes darting about him. He had a kind of carnivorous look of trying to extract some inner marrow of whoever he was talking to, though given the nature of himself and his staccato, disconnected attempts at conversing, I don’t think he was having much success with the locals in that line - though you never know, maybe he thought he was penetrating them to the core.

He came across the path one day, by chance or however, and it seemed he grew very excited by it. He was soon to be seen coming and going from the town, and on his goings carrying bundles of long pointed sticks, atop of which he had managed to tie flags, and it turned out he was sticking these flagged sticks into the ground at regular intervals, or at least what was probably meant to be regular intervals, up along the ascending path. Back he would come to the town and then away again with another bundle atop his obedient if not very sturdy back. He had the look, it was said, all this time of someone who’d been awaiting all his life for something special, some great moment, and now it had arrived, and so now there he was merging with it for all he was worth.

With word of what he was doing when I next went along that walk I expected to see it indented from start to finish with his flagged sticks, and indeed for some distance it was heavily scoured. The sticks though tended not to be much in the way of being particularly upright, instead at odd angles to each other creating a haphazard rhythm, while quite a few were already perilously close to toppling over outright and a few having already done so. At times the sticks departed the path and struck out at some tangent for a few yards before these digressions coming to abrupt halts, occasionally one or two sticks then making unconvincing looking efforts to bridge and rejoin the apparently re-found path a little further. Maybe he thought he was effecting some short-cuts or, unused to such uncivilized terrains, his eyes simply found it difficult at times, say of fading light, to discern what was path and what not.

At first the disfigured vista seemed to me a bit amusing but then I began to get annoyed at the thought and sight of this wild, quiet place being made look ridiculous, and by this stupid outsider - not that his being an outsider probably made any difference, though of course only an outsider would have behaved like this in the first place.

Walking on after a while just where the incline began to get a bit more serious I came an end of the sticks, and a few yards further on lay the very man, stretched out and gasping, still with a couple of sticks in the bundle tied to himself. I’m afraid he didn’t provoke much in the way of compassion in me, he’d be all right in a while, but I could hardly just walk on, much as I might have wished, and so having asked him was he all right, to which he was unable to reply, I stayed by him a bit, and with the help of a drink of water he slowly began to recover himself.

“Are you feeling better now?”
“I am improving. It is the same every time.”
”What is?”
”This is as far as my body goes. I cannot go myself any further. But you, you don’t think you could . . .”

In short what he was telling me, while not losing that greediness to his look though with now I thought an added tone of some secret comradeship, that his path-marking was coming up against something of a brick-wall and that being his body’s collapsing in exhaustion somewhere around this point. The walk was bad enough, but with the weight of the sticks added to the load . . . But me, might I not wish to involve myself: to mark out the rest of the path? ‘I’m afraid not.’ He seemed to find this incomprehensible - not to be a colleague in this great work - but rather than explain myself,  I said good luck and headed off up the path.

I came across him similarly stretched out and gasping over the next few days, back or forward a few yards from the same point, but usually back a bit: the weight of the added sticks he’d added to his pile and having to carry the entire already attained distance presumably too much for him. He didn’t ask me again to help him, but added to his embittered looks me was some latent pleading along with, deeper again, some uncomprehending sense of betrayal, whatever mystery about which he must have thought we were in league.

I suppose you had to admire his efforts with these flagged sticks, at least in theory you did, but in practice to be honest I didn’t. He failed to ever manage to get much farther with his sticks along the path, and soon, these limits to his endurance unsurpassed, he disappeared altogether. In his absence quite a few more of his sticks toppled over.

It wasn't the end of things though and soon enough other men, diluted versions you could say of the first, began appearing. And why? To see The Sticks for themselves (their pronunciation somehow included the capitals). Sent on their way up the path, they were as excited about what they came across as the first man had been, and in their own ways turned out to be just as busy – this time not sticks but maps, measuring tapes, graphs, cameras . . . If in the midst of their activities someone happened to walk past them heading off up the incline, out past the limits of the sticks, these men wouldn’t it seemed even notice him. Even if said hello in passing he still wouldn't appear to register.

Their activities proved endless. You might think they’d soon enough exhaust all they could do but there was no end to distances and angles of and between sticks that could be measured. Incidentally any stick that in the meantime fell was left where it was and no more interest paid it.

As time went on the fame of the original man and his sticks, and some of the later men, grew and grew. No mention though ever seemed to be made of the path.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Outpouring of the Inner

Every inner state will naturally produce thoughts, even ascending to the heights of a philosophy, as direct emanations and justification of that state as truth, even final truth. The state becomes, particularly the more one becomes immersed in it, self-evident in its truth, it is that person's reality, and the thinker is not distinct from it.
Atheism is for instance the emanation of and simultaneously the attempt to justify a narrowed egotistical sense of being as truth. Whatever the inner state is tends not to be satisfied with itself simply as experienced reality due to, say, a certain way of life, but instead to be exclusive in proclaiming itself jealously as final truth. Atheism again so is the attempt of the petty ego sense of being to not shamefully feel itself as petty and narrowed down, but to actually proclaim this narrowed down state of being as the proud summit of reality - and as this gets pushed deeper in particular that particular individual's ego sense as final truth.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Fallen


A word, or maybe words, fell from above, naturally . . . that is naturally they fell from above, they could hardly have fallen from below . . .  but anyway in the falling the word or words hit something hard, the corner was it of the roof, and broke into pieces onto the dirt. Something of course so interesting was hardly going to be ignored, but efforts in trying to put together again the pieces ended in, if not failure, confusion . . . though it might be more truthful to say failure and confusion, not to mention mud. The pieces  were so small no one could agree, never mind what word or words the letters comprised but what letters the pieces comprised, though of course this didn't stop the most violent certainties arising and clashing with other violent certainties. Anger, self-righteousness, etc.

Anyway all involved were and are behaving as if this fallen word or words were of the utmost importance, unquestionably; and there was no one even to suggest otherwise. Maybe it was just tossed by some bloody shoemaker from a dirty attic window. Why a shoemaker? I don't know. Egalitarianism. Though of course they could be right - from the heavens and all that. But you'd think if someone had gone to the trouble of sending it from the heavens, they'd have managed to avoid it smashing off the edge of some stupid roof. Ah but that maybe that was the whole point - the smashing bit . . . as well as the falling.

But isn't this all a bit too allegorical, crude even? Maybe it is, whatever it's supposed to mean. But don't blame me. I only wrote it down.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Suspect

"You must admit it looks strange - "
" - I admit nothing."
" - your fiancé's head found in your shopping bag."
"I fail to see . . . "




Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Omar

"Do you think Omar Sharif really is a great bridge player or is it more about who he is?"
"I don't really know. He's probably good all right."

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Death Penalty Paradox

I wrote some few posts back about the Epimenides/Liar Paradox, showing there was no paradox, simply faulty language. A thought however along its lines struck me regarding the logic of the death penalty, in its general use anyway, which goes:

Killing is wrong.
Therefore we will kill you.
Therefore killing isn't wrong.

So obviously as an ethical statement it falls apart completely, and perhaps what it really is is an opportunity to make a very potent statement of power by the State - however dubious the reality of that supposed entity may be. The arbiter and implementer of the law is beyond or outside of the law.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Nothing

It's very hard to be alive in this day and age . . . well no, it's not, being alive is a given, all you have to do is keep eating and breathing. And breathing, if you think about it, isn't even something you have to try to do, it happens by itself, the effort would be in the not breathing - which might seem a bit odd, it being harder to not do something than to do something. And as for eating, there's some effort involved there all right, but even still not a whole lot, you'd hardly call us hunter gatherers, and again it would probably take a lot more effort ultimately, more willpower, not to eat than to eat.

But outside of these physiological details, it's not easy to be alive now, and here by contrast it is perhaps a lot easier not to be alive than alive. Not that anyone is forcing one not to be alive, but it's, we'll say, a state, this inner unreality, perpetually suggested, invisible hands are pushing one into this unreal domain. Are they real, these hands, that is are there real people behind the pushing, or is it so to speak the inner logic of a process that hasn't really anything to do with anyone? Maybe, not that it perhaps really matters, it's a bit of both - to some degree behind the invisible suggestive hands are real hands, that is real people setting the pushing into non-being in motion, helping it along. But it could be - as far as they're concerned, the people doing the pushing - that all the movement, the collective migration into unreality, some great cumulative nothingness, is just to do with their personal gain, what they personally get out of people leaving reality behind - money, docility, whatever - and even if they were aware some bit of some inner logic to the whole process, this for them is all by the way, superfluous, secondary, unnecessarily complicated. It might even be an affront to their cleverness this supposed inner logic that does most of the work for them. And who knows, maybe if you mentioned unreality, they'd look back blankly . . .  though really that should hardly be a surprise, for what would you expect out of, or inside of, a servant of unreality but more unreality, and the higher up they've gone in that whole business, rather than the less so the more so.  So rather than cynically awake and aware at the controls, they're the most unaware of all. Which you could say is poetic.

So what is it, this nothingness: some kind of machine, something like an elaborate bicycle, various sized wheels, lots of whirring, smaller ones feeding into the movement of bigger ones, people pedalling, but it's not anyone in particular's bicycle however much they're pedalling and, even they might think, steering.

So all this impersonality, no one's to blame, not even the people who are to blame, they've just gone so deep into whatever they've gone into, there's nothing left of them. But then again maybe it's all not  so impersonal, maybe it's even the opposite - all this invisible hands and machinery and wheels and so on  is all Me, me, me! to the very core. But it just so happens that me, me, me to the very core is nothing but nothingness. And meanwhile maybe all that really matters, or the best you can do anyway, is not getting gently or not pushed into it all. For where's their wheels then?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Resonance


This piece has been accused of lacking emotional resonance, which is of course an outlandish accusation. It is perhaps one of the most emotional things ever written.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Cork

The following, or something in genesis of substance like it, entered my conscious mind last night and, having been largely ignored, rather than return to silent oblivion as would be usual has been persistent enough to re-enter it again a few minutes ago, and so I can hardly go on ignoring it but had better try and write it down.

A cork was floating in a glass of water, some of it naturally submerged below the waterline, some of it above - though why I imagine anyone would need that clarified is a bit of a mystery. So there it was anyway bobbing about gently, even imperceptibly, though if someone banged against say the table for instance on which the glass rests, the introduction of a bit of sudden violence to the environment . . . or say if someone lifts the glass, placing it down again maybe with a bit of a bang . . . precarious even so perhaps momentarily the cork's remaining within the glass . . . but anyway regardless in it, the glass of water, it remains, sedately in general but with some fluctuations, theoretically at least.

But then - carelessness, deliberateness, somehow - the bottom of the glass breaks though perfectly cleanly, the rest of the glass remaining intact, unflawed, and out the water pours down the bottom, but the width of the glass was wider a fair bit at the top than at the bottom, and while initially of course the cork followed in the wake or along with the vanishing water, when it got to the bottom of the damaged glass it wedged and remained there, stuck.

Why this banal vision bothered itself with me, not once but twice, I have no idea. Presumably it thought itself possessed of some great inner substance, and so whose embodied incarnation had to be insisted on, but whatever it is and even if it is, this substance, I'm not for now all that interested. Maybe if it had come in some more colourful, fantastic form, I would be more interested, intrigued . . . but then again I might have dismissed it out of hand - as vulgar, trite, whatever. And also to be fair, maybe it, this image of cork and glass, had to come in precisely that form or, whatever it is, it would no longer be itself but some other substance altogether. But then again maybe it's all just a random image being treated with far more respect than it deserves but as of now who am I to judge.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Doesn't

This needs no introduction.

. . . Though then again someone might say, 'Of course it needs an introduction. Noone knows what you're on about!' They could be right, but I'm afraid it's all a bit late now. I can hardly start writing an introduction after having already written that first bit, it would be more an epilogue, and what kind of an introduction would that be?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Worth Remembering

Democracy was invented by Bono on U2's seminal album Techno-Opera Atom Bomb.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Liar Paradox

In the Epimenides Paradox post,  I looked at the easily refuted "This statement is false," where obviously enough it is seen that there is no statement, and so the line is intellectual gibberish. If the line is changed to "This sentence is false," the same refutation basically applies as there is no claim here which justifies this sentence being described as true or false, and so it is a false construct and despite appearances not a valid sentence.

Not that I remember but when I did a number of posts on alleged paradoxes way back, maybe I hadn't initially even formulated to myself the inner motivation behind the refutations, and on a surface level was perhaps simply struck by the faulty logic of the individual cases, but after a while it becoming clear that a general truth was involved which was that language used properly cannot result in meaningless conclusions, while the paradox acolytes like Borges were claiming otherwise - that language and even by extension life were inconsistent, faulty systems. But all that has happened with the 'paradoxes' is, without noticing it, people have intellectually gone wrong.

So now onto the Liar Paradox, which is closely related it seems to Epimenides paradox but far more clever or tricky to unravel. To add, I'm not really going to look into the history of these 'paradoxes' and whether the Epimenides Paradox truly is "This statement is false" isn't the point or just considered an equivalent of it. It is the inner logic of the given sentence that I am dealing with, and even if just for the sake of demarcation we'll call that the Epimenides and the following the Liar.

So lifting from elsewhere:

The Liar Paradox is among the simplest of paradoxes. It can be traced back at least as far as Eubulides of Miletus, a fourth-century B.C. Greek philosopher.
Eubulides’ version of the paradox is this: A man says that he is lying; is what he says true or false?
However we answer this question, difficulties arise.
If we suggest that what the man says is true, then we end in contradiction: if the man’s claim that he is lying is true, then he is lying, in which case what he says is false.
If we suggest that what the man says is false, then we are no better off: if the man’s claim that he is lying is false, then he is not lying, in which case what he says is true.

So, the relevant line here is "I am lying." Again unfortunately like "This statement is false," this is a meaningless construct. About what is he lying? There is no statement which as above can be true or false. So the intended gist of this must be put a little differently to make at least more apparent sense; and so a better variation is the line "All Cretans are liars," said by, it is said, a Cretan. Here we do have an apparent statement. Also it could equally be put, "Everything I say is a lie." Again, rather than just saying "I am lying", this seems at least to be a definite statement about an aspect of reality - that everything I say is a lie. The resulting train of thought then goes or is alleged to go that if everything I say is a lie then this is itself a lie, and everything I say is hence not a lie. Or if the statement is true and so is itself a lie, this this implies everything I say is not false, which contradicts itself. And the wider philosophical implication being that language is capable of being used correctly and yet leading to untenable conclusions; this showing that language is ultimately a flawed system, and so Truth is an illusion, reality is intellectually corrupt, etc.

So with truth and coherence at stake, onwards. It turns out however that this has already been covered in the previous post, with the point that logic follows from true statements, not false ones. An intellectual process is real when every step is true, every line is in accordance with the inner logic of language and accurate representation of external reality. A mathematical or linguistic line, theorem, etc is real on such a basis, and if error occurs the overall construct which follows is unreal, does not in truth exist.  And so to begin with 'Everything I say is a lie', means that the logical process has been immediately flouted at source, and so there is no further justifiable process. It is a degradation of the logical process to go any further, since the line is not real, not in accordance with the truth to which logic must conform. Logic applies to the logical implications of true statements, not false ones.  The line explicitly describes itself an untrue and so unreal, and so reality cannot proceed from unreality.  It is not real but for someone who wrongly follows a supposed train of logic along this illogical pathway, an intellectual hallucination or something which appears to be real ensues, such as a supposed paradox resulting from imagining the false conclusion has been arrived at legitimately. The false conclusion though should be the giveaway that it is the intellectual process that has been degraded or simply gone wrong.

.........................................................................................................................

To some degree I imagine the above denying of the validity of the process that supposedly leads to the paradox could be felt to be a bit unfair, and I will now look at the matter from a slightly different angle.

Is it intellectually possible - i.e. can it make sense - for me to say that everything I say is a lie? - which is the essence of the Liar Paradox.  The whole supposed point of a paradox being of such import is that it is allegedly logically coherent and yet leads to illogical conclusions. And we should try being as existential as we can and first realise the 'logical deductions' which follows the line "Everything I say is a lie" are as yet nowhere to be seen; it is that line itself that we should be looking directly at.

Quoting from an earlier piece - "To say anything in a true intellectual sense is to involve oneself necessarily in an acceptance that the language one is using is real and imbued with meaning; that the words one is using- if used correctly, i.e. meaningfully- are meaningful." This is the necessary ground and of course is the ground from which logic proceeds. So to say that everything I say is a lie is immediately a total violation of the ground upon which argument and logic sits. And so it is self-contradictory as a piece of logic. Truth doesn't dwell within falseness or lies, and so, as more or less said earlier, it makes no sense for such a line to be considered to dwell within the world of logic or logical statements. So there is no great truth revealed by this 'paradox' as the line can't be said to exist intellectually.

That it is worthy of any intellectual interest is that it is a truth claim, but here it is clearly self-contradictory for a truth-claim to deny itself as precisely that, to claim itself to be a lie, and so not to fall within the sphere of logic. Even following the supposed logic though doesn't lead to the paradox but simply to the falseness of the line's claim. So, having laboured the point, going back to looking directly at the statement, "Everything I say is a lie," and seeing if it can be legitimately said. The idea of the paradox is that the relevant line can be said but the conclusion of this valid line contradicts truth, thus revealing language's flawed nature. Generally the supposed sophistication of these paradoxes comes out as quite a childish and stupid misunderstanding however - such as with the inane "This statement is false", and its deflating riposte"What statement?"

                                              Everything I say is false.

 Is it possible for everything I say to be without exception false, that is in practical terms, to be with every utterance relentlessly lying? And as this extends philosophically, can Falseness be a consistent cohesive system? And so, the reach of all this has extended with more at stake than what one might have thought.

So the key now is whether it is possible to relentlessly lie. As already shown, to use language is to accept its truth and meaningfulness, and the very fact that we are discussing whether this Liar Paradox is a viable or true language statement shows how impossible it is to escape this. But now we are seeing whether Falseness can exist relativistically, to dwell cohesively at some more minor level within the necessarily admitted greater truth of Truth. Someone can of course within a trivial range lie with everything he says, from what he had for breakfast to who won a football match, what age he is, etc. Such a life of relentless lying could happen. But that's not the issue. Is this unbroken lying possible as an entire system when pushed to its intellectual limits? In a theological sense, could a Satan console himself with the truth of his defiance of Truth, even while reluctantly accepting God's existence and primacy?

Well and perhaps surprisingly, the line itself "Everything I say is false" reveals the impossibility of the coherence of this edifice of falseness. Lying reaches its own limits, trips itself up, as if I am lying with this very statement, then this implies that not everything I say can be false. So falseness as a system collapses in on itself, and has no consolation.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Strapped

There was a man walking along under the strain of a quite large rock he had strapped to his back. "But where is he going with it?" "He isn't going anywhere with it. He's just going. Though if you asked him where does he think he's going with it, he might tell you he's going somewhere great with his rock, even if he says it grimly, maybe even with anger. Then again he mightn't even be aware of the rock, might look at you like you're a madman, and on he goes."

Friday, 9 May 2014

Epimenides Paradox

On the continued theme of the paradox, I saw mentioned last night in a television programme on mathematics the alleged paradox "This statement cannot be proved." And this apparently a tangent of what is called the Epimenides Paradox, which seems to go in something like its pure form:

This statement is false.

So do we have here what Borges described as a crack in the architecture of reason where we see that the world is false? The supposed logic going, "Well, if it is true that it is false, then it is true. Which means it is false. Which means it is true." And so on. A unsolvable paradox. Logic has been breached. We are free!

The vital essence of language in the form of reason, rather than say poetry, is that at every level what one says is reasonable - makes sense. And here, as should be immediately obvious, is where this paradox gets in trouble. "This statement is false." What statement? There is no statement here, simply the referring to one which does not appear. The sentence, without the accompanying statement, is linguistically meaningless. And so it is of course meaningless to describe a non-existent statement as true or false.

"My dog is black" is a statement which may be true or false, depending on the colour and existence of my dog, and in this correct understanding of what a statement is, no paradoxes occur. The statement exists- refers to something. "This statement" is not however a statement, and so the supposed paradox is simply resting on a foundation of gibberish. And so, alas, no paradox.
Identically - "This statement can't be proved." What statement?

Even if, and here I am giving far more respect and time to this nonsense than it merits, "This statement is false" wasn't meaningless and actually made some kind of sense, the moment it is false it makes no more sense to apply logic to it. It is illogical to treat illogical statements as logical- you don't build and form deductions from a foundation of "Two plus two equals five." Logic doesn't apply. You don't apply rational conclusions to irrational statements. That is simply, and literally, insanity: take meaningless nonsense and run with it. Logic applies to the logical implications of true statements, not false ones.

So summing up, "This statement is false" is linguistic nonsense as it isn't a statement, but in any case a logical train should not follow illogical statements.

As written in a separate post, "Just because words combined may make what appears a proper sentence doesn't mean the structure is a legitimate one, i.e. language isn't simply a matter of structure but of course meaning also, and here the meaning is absent."

A follow-up on the Liar Paradox here.