Thursday, April 29, 2010

(insert incoherent grumbling noises here)

Dear Editor,
I have more linguistic points of contention to bemoan; in this missive I will only perturb your restful contemplation of other things with one category:
Excessively derived redundant words
Why oh why oh why?
  • Orient (n) --- the East; derives Orient (v) --- Acquaint with or inform of East; derives Orientation (n) --- how an object with shape occupies space (so far so good, all new ideas); aparently derives "orientATE" --- See Orient (v).
  • Demolish; Demolition; DemolishionING?
  • Ironical, adj. : a shortening of "ironically", the adverb derived from "ironic", the adjective derived from "irony". I've only ever seen it used meaning "ironic".
  • Thusly: a demonstrative adverb meaning precisely the same as the demonstrative adverb "thus".
Note I have deliberately omited, e.g., "typical" --- here the order of derivation is "type, typical, typically" --- no redundancy, no ugly obscurity. On the other hand, if "ironical" were used as meaning "pointing to/indicating irony" instead of "marked by/notable for irony", then I'd concede it wasn't an offensively redundant word.
And it's not the redundancy alone I object to; it's the obsessive elaboration of known words in such a way as to say less instead of more. These are constructions that make our speach uglier by way of obscuring a clearer way to say exactly the same thing, while tying up constructs that could have been used for other, newer things!

the impatient reader

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alarming mathematical thought for the day

echo << eof >>/dev/null

It seems some people don't like remembering History. There are certainly plenty enough people who will gladly ditch all things ancient as "out of fashion". I don't know why that should be, but ... anyways. My alarming mathematical (and also historical) thought for the day is to remark that the past, History, is the thing that is grow, among past and future. We like to think of the future opening up before us, spreading out ever new and increasing possibilities, but this is an illusion. What grows in this direction is our imagination of the future, not the future itself; and this is built, of course, on the growing past. Each of us, gradually, is running out of future, and one day all that's left for each of us will be Eternity.

That's my thought for the day.


Monday, April 26, 2010

A Gospel Redux

Dear Neighbour,

It's not how I'd have put it, but sometimes, amidst the Dark Night of the Soul, it should be helpful to remember what our Dear Auntie expresses in the sixth comment here.

a meandering soul

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fourth Glorious Mystery

Dear JR${}^2$,

I was wondering if you might have any insight a conjectural thought I had regarding various Traditions --- actually, I thought of asking your friend Jack first, mostly because of his ocasional motif: "no-one is told what would have happened". Then I started to worry because these specific Traditions are particularly extrascriptural, and remembering his reticence which I hear troubled you also, I figured it'd be better to ask a fellow Roman. On the other hand, I then remembered how you once mused that Men were from the first given a new gift, to "seek beyond the world, and find no rest therein", so I wondered if maybe we were thinking along similar lines. But enough digression!

From of old we celebrate both the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption to Heaven of Holy Mary the Theotokos; and also it is clear that these points are importantly interlinked. What I started wondering was whether the latter honour accorded to Mary should not have been the destined state of all Men had our first parents not fallen? To flesh out this notion, so to speak, while Mary indeed finally fell asleep, it would seem that she did not suffer the same sundering of body and spirit which is the fate of all Men marked by original sin.

And so, to phrase the question as I might ask it to trouble Jack, does Mary's Assumption show us "what would have happened" to us had we not sinned? I do expect he'd say "no-one is told", meaning that it is a distraction to speculate on such counter-factuals, but it seems to me that his other proscription doesn't apply here: we are told her story --- if not in full, still at least with these important highlights.

A distantly-related thought that occurs to me in this connection is that we often speak of Purgatory as having its own sort of time --- it works a process, gradually --- which suggests to me that it's tightly linked to the world we inhabit in our beginning, and I might even guess that purgatory was created after the fall, an invention as it were to make up for the defects we adopted in sinning. But it's also an important fact of purgatory that our souls pass through it without our bodies; even that our bodies would, echoing Jack's notions, "get in the way" of the cleansing flame. One might say that Mary could keep her body because her soul didn't need such cleansing, but I think it would be more proper to say we must lose ours for half of Time specifically because our souls do need it.

In the back of my head, at the same time, I've this notion that Mary's assumption holds an important confirmation of the Easter Promise: Specifically, Easter promises that death is not the terminus of our existence, but a new birth; but in the assumption we see that this new life isn't a "new thing", rather it's the promised return to us of our proper nature as seen in the entirely human Mary, lost under our sins, and liberated through God's merciful and gratuitous forgiveness.

Of course, this doesn't give the least inkling of the real mystery in Easter, or the Assumption; I'm keen to learn what you make of my nonsense?

an avid reader

PS. Now I've learned to count...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An astonishingly short proof

That right! I've discovered an astonishingly short formal proof that ZFC is inconsistent! It's been thoroughly checked by two different proof-checkers on various hardware, and they all agree that Math As We Know It Is Insane!

The Astonishingly Short Proof was initially produced by genetic tree-searching algorithms with success measured by a heuristic "inconceivability index" for strong sentences. It is conjectured that this index is only one of an infinite family --- indeed an $\infty$-groupoid of such notions is expected to exist!

Our specific index --- a real number --- is also known to imply falsehood whenever it exceeds 3/31, and our algorithm this morning arived at a formal proof from ZFC of an index 4/1 (=4)!

For more, proceed "below the fold"!