PDA

View Full Version : Origins of "vorpal"?



randomhero00
2011-07-23, 03:07 PM
So as far as I can tell, it was first mentioned in Alice in Wonderland as the vorpal sword that defeated the jabberwocky (cut off its head).

Are there any earlier uses?

Okizruin
2011-07-23, 03:08 PM
Nope. It was made up by the writer of Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll).

randomhero00
2011-07-23, 03:13 PM
Nope. It was made up by the writer of Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll).

Wow, that's what I just said...

GoblinArchmage
2011-07-23, 03:21 PM
As far as I know, you are both correct. Lewis Carroll made up most of the words in the "Jabberwocky" poem.

NecroRebel
2011-07-23, 03:30 PM
I'm pretty sure Jabberwocky was in Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, not Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Wikipedia backs this up. But regardless, that was where the word was coined; the poem is made up mostly of what were then nonsense words, and "vorpal" was among them.

Worira
2011-07-23, 03:55 PM
Wow, that's what I just said...

Yup, that's how agreement works.

Yuki Akuma
2011-07-23, 04:04 PM
I'm pretty sure Jabberwocky was in Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, not Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Wikipedia backs this up. But regardless, that was where the word was coined; the poem is made up mostly of what were then nonsense words, and "vorpal" was among them.

Yes. You're right.

I'm not sure how anyone who's read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland could think Jabberwocky was in it...

Shadowknight12
2011-07-23, 04:07 PM
Yes. You're right.

I'm not sure how anyone who's read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland could think Jabberwocky was in it...

I haven't read either. The premises have always sounded far too nonsensical to me.

Steward
2011-07-23, 04:07 PM
So, to reiterate, the word "vorpal" originated from Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky", found in "Through the Looking Glass".

SilverClawShift
2011-07-23, 04:19 PM
So, to reiterate, the word "vorpal" originated from Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky", found in "Through the Looking Glass".

I always heard Lewis Carroll made it up in the Jabberwocky poem.

Arbane
2011-07-23, 04:26 PM
I haven't read either. The premises have always sounded far too nonsensical to me.

They are TOTALLY nonsensical. Wonderland & its sequel run on a combination of dream-logic and deliberate misinterpretations of figures of speech, logic, and math. It's like a Victorian XKCD.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-23, 04:33 PM
They are TOTALLY nonsensical. Wonderland & its sequel run on a combination of dream-logic and deliberate misinterpretations of figures of speech, logic, and math. It's like a Victorian XKCD.

Oh goodie, I always wondered if I was missing out on something. I'm quite glad to realise I'm not. If I can't get anything useful out of it, reading it will be a waste of my time.

Gavinfoxx
2011-07-23, 04:43 PM
The Vorpal Blade is the Conyers falchion, dating to the 12th century. Lewis Carroll saw this weapon at the ordination of a bishop in his childhood, and coined the term Vorpal in his book based on this weapon.

Kurald Galain
2011-07-23, 05:09 PM
I always heard Lewis Carroll made it up in the Jabberwocky poem.

I've heard it was brillig, and there were some slithy toves in the wabe.

gkathellar
2011-07-23, 05:15 PM
I've heard it was brillig, and there were some slithy toves in the wabe.

Everyone knows that those slithy toves did gyre and gimble like in the wabe like mad. Couldn't get enough of gyring and gimbling, really. Kinda sad. They never saw the jubjub birds coming, and after that they just didn't have a chance against the frumious bandersnatch. Glad my beamish boy didn't turn out like that.

For reference, the poem Jabberwocky was first featured in Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. I believe a number of words first used in the poem are now in common use in the English lexicon, but I'm not certain of that.

And you are missing out, Shadowknight. The books are fascinating explorations of the nature of childhood and adulthood, arguably feature a lot of very sharp social critique, and may even have some Zen philosophy mixed in.

Analytica
2011-07-23, 05:19 PM
Oh goodie, I always wondered if I was missing out on something. I'm quite glad to realise I'm not. If I can't get anything useful out of it, reading it will be a waste of my time.

Arguably, it is required reading to get the most out of Douglas Hofstadter's "Gödel-Escher-Bach", though. Which will be useful if you are particularly interested in artificial intelligence, number theory or computing theory, but otherwise more fun than useful... :smallsmile:

Steward
2011-07-23, 05:33 PM
I always heard Lewis Carroll made it up in the Jabberwocky poem.

Are you implying that the word was first used by Lewis Carroll in the Jabberwocky poem? Because I think you might be onto something here.


but otherwise more fun than useful...

You could say that about most fiction, couldn't you?

Spiryt
2011-07-23, 05:34 PM
Oh goodie, I always wondered if I was missing out on something. I'm quite glad to realise I'm not. If I can't get anything useful out of it, reading it will be a waste of my time.

That's rather.... interesting view, I guess it depends on what exactly you mean by "getting anything useful".

I can't get anything useful out of Monty Python, maybe save the fact that one can quite nicely replicate the sound of hooves with a coconut. But I, by no way drunk or sober, would dare to care it "waste of my time". :smalltongue:



The Vorpal Blade is the Conyers falchion, dating to the 12th century. Lewis Carroll saw this weapon at the ordination of a bishop in his childhood, and coined the term Vorpal in his book based on this weapon.

That's funny story, I've seen the weapon few times, and haven't herd about it.

Anyway, it seems that the weapon is 13th century, it generally looks like that, and if anyone was to slay a dragon, it would certainly be a solid choice. (http://bjorn.foxtail.nu/h_conyers_eng.htm) :smallbiggrin:

SilverClawShift
2011-07-23, 06:10 PM
Are you implying that the word was first used by Lewis Carroll in the Jabberwocky poem? Because I think you might be onto something here.

Hey hey, I'm not trying to jump to conclusions. But I do believe the word vorpal came from the Jabberwocky poem (the one written by Lewis Carroll). See, lewis Carroll wrote this poem? About the Jabberwocky? And he used the word 'vorpal' in it. I think that's where the word came from.

dps
2011-07-23, 06:35 PM
Oh goodie, I always wondered if I was missing out on something. I'm quite glad to realise I'm not. If I can't get anything useful out of it, reading it will be a waste of my time.

{{scrubbed}}

Yukitsu
2011-07-23, 06:46 PM
Oh goodie, I always wondered if I was missing out on something. I'm quite glad to realise I'm not. If I can't get anything useful out of it, reading it will be a waste of my time.

You must not read novels. Terrible shame really.

The Glyphstone
2011-07-23, 06:49 PM
You people are all wrong, and should really check your facts before posting. It's inarguable that the word 'Vorpal' was first put to paper by Lewis Caroll in the Jabberwocky poem from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

UserClone
2011-07-23, 09:07 PM
You people are all wrong, and should really check your facts before posting. It's inarguable that the word 'Vorpal' was first put to paper by Lewis Caroll in the Jabberwocky poem from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

Correction: it actually made its first appearance it Lewis Carrol's Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

OracleofWuffing
2011-07-23, 09:17 PM
Prior to reading this thread, I thought it was first inked in the Jabberwocky poem in Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Caroll. It's nice to finally hear where it came from, though!

Graytemplar
2011-07-23, 09:17 PM
i realize that this is slightly off topic, but does anyone else think that whoever did the new Alice movie, did an excellent job in blending the jabberwocky in?

Shadowknight12
2011-07-23, 11:01 PM
Arguably, it is required reading to get the most out of Douglas Hofstadter's "Gödel-Escher-Bach", though. Which will be useful if you are particularly interested in artificial intelligence, number theory or computing theory, but otherwise more fun than useful... :smallsmile:

No, I don't foresee having to venture into those fields. But thanks for letting me know that, I'll keep it in mind if I ever do. :smallsmile:


That's rather.... interesting view, I guess it depends on what exactly you mean by "getting anything useful".

I can't get anything useful out of Monty Python, maybe save the fact that one can quite nicely replicate the sound of hooves with a coconut. But I, by no way drunk or sober, would dare to care it "waste of my time". :smalltongue:

My definition of useful is quite broad, but it unfortunately precludes things that are nonsensical. :smalltongue:


You must not read novels. Terrible shame really.

On the contrary, comprehensible and sensical novels are a great source of new ideas.


{Scrub the post, scrub the quote}

Because I'm curious about the origin of the word "vorpal," of course.

Yukitsu
2011-07-23, 11:28 PM
Through the looking glass is comprehensible and sensible. :smallconfused: At the very least, it is very easy to relate to, and there is nothing in the flow of the events that should be considered confusing. The only potentially incomprehensible aspects of the stories are the characters, who are themselves variably insane, however, characters being incomprehensible is not something that should tarnish the story.

Rogue Shadows
2011-07-23, 11:32 PM
Oh goodie, I always wondered if I was missing out on something. I'm quite glad to realise I'm not. If I can't get anything useful out of it, reading it will be a waste of my time.

...out of curiosity, why do you define as "useful?"

Yukitsu
2011-07-23, 11:42 PM
...out of curiosity, why do you define as "useful?"

99% of the time, it means "If I enjoyed it, I got a use out of it" rather than any indication of higher learning. Which is fine, but saying "I didn't enjoy it because I didn't enjoy it" always irritates me as a criticism.

The Random NPC
2011-07-23, 11:43 PM
The poem itself is a critique on the rules for writing. I don't remember if it was about only relying on the rules or about there not being enough rules, but he was trying to show that you could make a completly nonsensical poem without breaking any of the rules of writing.

Arbane
2011-07-24, 12:35 AM
The poem itself is a critique on the rules for writing. I don't remember if it was about only relying on the rules or about there not being enough rules, but he was trying to show that you could make a completly nonsensical poem without breaking any of the rules of writing.

I remember reading somewhere (so it MUST be true!) that most of the poetry in Alice in Wonderland is parodies of now-forgotten moralistic nursery rhymes that were popular when Carroll wrote it.

Gavinfoxx
2011-07-24, 01:32 AM
So has anyone read that annotated alice in wonderland book? What does it have to say about the poem?

The Random NPC
2011-07-24, 05:15 AM
I remember reading somewhere (so it MUST be true!) that most of the poetry in Alice in Wonderland is parodies of now-forgotten moralistic nursery rhymes that were popular when Carroll wrote it.

I do remember something to that effect, but I believe it refers to Alice in Wonderland, and not Through the looking-glass and What Alice Found There.

Yuki Akuma
2011-07-24, 06:49 AM
I remember reading somewhere (so it MUST be true!) that most of the poetry in Alice in Wonderland is parodies of now-forgotten moralistic nursery rhymes that were popular when Carroll wrote it.

That is in fact true for both Alice books.

Did you know: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a diatribe against the teaching of 'new math' in schools, and is meant to show a world in which insane things presented in 'new math' were actually real.

Did you know: you learned 'new math' in school.


So has anyone read that annotated alice in wonderland book? What does it have to say about the poem?

Quite a lot. Annotations 16 through 40 for the first chapter of Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There are all about the poem. They go on for seven pages after the chapter actually ends.

gkathellar
2011-07-24, 07:20 AM
i realize that this is slightly off topic, but does anyone else think that whoever did the new Alice movie, did an excellent job in blending the jabberwocky in?

That movie was terrible, and people need to stop pretending that Tim Burton still makes good films.


The poem itself is a critique on the rules for writing. I don't remember if it was about only relying on the rules or about there not being enough rules, but he was trying to show that you could make a completly nonsensical poem without breaking any of the rules of writing.

At the very least, it demonstrates conclusively that Shakespeare was right: you can pack emotional content and meaning into poetry while making up every other word.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 07:29 AM
Through the looking glass is comprehensible and sensible. :smallconfused: At the very least, it is very easy to relate to, and there is nothing in the flow of the events that should be considered confusing. The only potentially incomprehensible aspects of the stories are the characters, who are themselves variably insane, however, characters being incomprehensible is not something that should tarnish the story.

Call me "easily discouraged," but adaptations, satires and references of/to Lewis Carroll's works have left me more than skeptical about him.


...out of curiosity, why do you define as "useful?"

Why, it has to be able to be used somehow. Obviously. If it has new ideas or new ways of portraying ideas, among other things, it has an use. But odds are that being as old and famous as it is, it isn't quite likely.

gkathellar
2011-07-24, 07:36 AM
Call me "easily discouraged," but adaptations, satires and references of/to Lewis Carroll's works have left me more than skeptical about him.

Seriously, guy? That's like saying the Iliad must be terrible because so many of its adaptations are terrible.


Why, it has to be able to be used somehow. Obviously. If it has new ideas or new ways of portraying ideas, among other things, it has an use. But odds are that being as old and famous as it is, it isn't quite likely.

Is the fact that they're interesting, complex pieces that have had a tremendous effect on the state of modern English literature not enough to count as useful? Yes, sure, Lewis Carroll was deranged, but that doesn't mean he's not insightful.

Tech Boy
2011-07-24, 07:44 AM
Yes. You're right.

I'm not sure how anyone who's read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland could think Jabberwocky was in it...

I'm pretty sure the Jabberwocky is NOT in that. :smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Alice's Adventures really has no place for anything like that. HA

Serpentine
2011-07-24, 07:48 AM
Yes. You're right.

I'm not sure how anyone who's read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland could think Jabberwocky was in it...The Disney version features, iirc, the Cheshire Cat reciting part of the poem at some point. That could be the reason.

And it's a real shame, Shadowknight, because it's an amazing classic piece of literature, and Jabberwocky itself is one of my favourite pieces ever written. I know if off by heart, and love it every time.
Protip: don't give it to someone who speaks English a second language when they ask for kids' books to practice with :smallsigh: :smallredface:

And man... You would hate The Book of Nonsense (an anthology edited by Paul Jennings) I own... It includes, among other things, excerpts from both Alice books, and the editor has this to say about the subject:
"Nonsense, proper creative Nonsense... involves seeing reality from the other side... Nonsense isn't any old shape. It is exact. 'For the snark was a boojum, you see.' Of course it was; not a quelje, or a drockle, or a chinglomp, but a boojum. This is why nursery rhymes, for all their surrealism, are so definite - often giving you the actual number of things; the cow may have jumped over the moon, but there were three blind mice, not for or two... But the second, and major significance of the chessboard [skipped over here] is of course that you have to keep changing from seeing it as black squares on a white background to seeing it as white squares on a black one.
Well, this is what Nonsense does. It involves the essential ability to ask what if? What if everything was the other way round, or even what if just this little detail were changed?... Also, what if one produced so-and-so's style, but heightened it to absurd lengths? ...
To that extent, Nonsense is more precise and definable (than Humour). What unites all the pieces in this book... is their ability to make the wrong kind of reader exclaim 'but it couldn't possibly be like that!'
...
The Nonsense-writer's ability to see things 'from the other side' is nothing new, as I hope this book will show, since it starts with Aristophanes and ends with Monty Python and other exponents very living indeed."

So yeah. It's a shame you're so disdainful of nonsense, because it's marvelous - quite literally, "full of marvels".

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 07:52 AM
Seriously, guy? That's like saying the Iliad must be terrible because so many of its adaptations are terrible.

If you already know how the story is going to be, because someone ripped it off (regardless of whether they have done so poorly or greatly), what's the point in reading the original? The best reason would be "to see how the idea can be executed properly." Not being a fan of the idea in the first place, I'm afraid Lewis Carroll has nothing to offer to me. I'm not saying that he's terrible, only that the prospect of reading him is not appealing to me in the slightest.


Is the fact that they're interesting, complex pieces that have had a tremendous effect on the state of modern English literature not enough to count as useful? Yes, sure, Lewis Carroll was deranged, but that doesn't mean he's not insightful.

It depends on whether anything of use can be done with the information. "Lewis Carroll has greatly affected modern English literature." Can I put that information to use? If yes, then it's useful. If not, then I have wasted my time. Furthermore, the older a work is, the greater the chances of it being useless, its ideas and insights already lifted by newer generations and presented to me.

And besides, what's the point in reading the actual work when I can read the literary analysis made by experts and extract those ideas and insights without having to actually touch the work at all? It strikes me as the most efficient thing to do.



And it's a real shame, Shadowknight, because it's an amazing classic piece of literature, and Jabberwocky itself is one of my favourite pieces ever written. I know if off by heart, and love it every time.
Protip: don't give it to someone who speaks English a second language when they ask for kids' books to practice with :smallsigh: :smallredface:

It would be one hell of a prank, though.


And man... You would hate The Book of Nonsense (an anthology edited by Paul Jennings) I own... It includes, among other things, excerpts from both Alice books, and the editor has this to say about the subject:
"Nonsense, proper creative Nonsense... involves seeing reality from the other side... Nonsense isn't any old shape. It is exact. 'For the snark was a boojum, you see.' Of course it was; not a quelje, or a drockle, or a chinglomp, but a boojum. This is why nursery rhymes, for all their surrealism, are so definite - often giving you the actual number of things; the cow may have jumped over the moon, but there were three blind mice, not for or two... But the second, and major significance of the chessboard [skipped over here] is of course that you have to keep changing from seeing it as black squares on a white background to seeing it as white squares on a black one.
Well, this is what Nonsense does. It involves the essential ability to ask what if? What if everything was the other way round, or even what if just this little detail were changed?... Also, what if one produced so-and-so's style, but heightened it to absurd lengths? ...
To that extent, Nonsense is more precise and definable (than Humour). What unites all the pieces in this book... is their ability to make the wrong kind of reader exclaim 'but it couldn't possibly be like that!'
...
The Nonsense-writer's ability to see things 'from the other side' is nothing new, as I hope this book will show, since it starts with Aristophanes and ends with Monty Python and other exponents very living indeed."

So yeah. It's a shame you're so disdainful of nonsense, because it's marvelous - quite literally, "full of marvels".

I actually think that Jennings has a very good point and I can't refute it in the slightest. Seeing things in new ways is useful, because it provides one with new perspectives. However, if I can't comprehend what is being said, I can't actually get any use out of it. I comprehended Jennings, so I can follow his points and get a new viewpoint out of them. If I can't comprehend Carroll, I won't be able to do that.

Spiryt
2011-07-24, 08:01 AM
And besides, what's the point in reading the actual work when I can read the literary analysis made by experts and extract those ideas and insights without having to actually touch the work at all? It strikes me as the most efficient thing to do.

Yeah, I discovered this some time ago, and now I'm reading analysis of all Pratchett stuff instead of reading it. Way more fun and less time consuming.

Serpentine
2011-07-24, 08:04 AM
@^ Why see a Shakespeare play when you can just read the study notes and see Ten Things I Hate About You?

The Alice stories are easily comprehensible :smallconfused: They're children's stories for crying out loud.

Asthix
2011-07-24, 08:32 AM
And besides, what's the point in reading the actual work when I can read the literary analysis made by experts and extract those ideas and insights without having to actually touch the work at all? It strikes me as the most efficient thing to do.

...if I can't comprehend what is being said, I can't actually get any use out of it. I comprehended Jennings, so I can follow his points and get a new viewpoint out of them. If I can't comprehend Carroll, I won't be able to do that.

This makes me think you've never had a frabjous day in your life. I get so much satisfaction out of those. Nah, I kid.

With respect to comprehending Carroll, how will you know unless you try? For that matter how could you think you wouldn't comprehend it if you've already asserted that you know how the story will go?

As for usefulness, the Duchess says in the first book, "Everything has a moral, if only you can find it.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 08:44 AM
Yeah, I discovered this some time ago, and now I'm reading analysis of all Pratchett stuff instead of reading it. Way more fun and less time consuming.

You say that sarcastically, but that's actually what I'm planning on doing when I get to "Pratchett" on my list of authors.


@^ Why see a Shakespeare play when you can just read the study notes and see Ten Things I Hate About You?

The Alice stories are easily comprehensible :smallconfused: They're children's stories for crying out loud.

I wouldn't see/watch either, but that sounds like a fairly reasonable idea.

There are many, many things aimed at children I find impossible to comprehend.


This makes me think you've never had a frabjous day in your life. I get so much satisfaction out of those.

With respect to comprehending Carroll, how will you know unless you try? For that matter how could you think you wouldn't comprehend it if you've already asserted that you know how the story will go?

As for usefulness, the Duchess says in the first book, "Everything has a moral, if only you can find it.

I get that a lot.

Because you can say "How will you know unless you try?" about pretty much every activity ever. Because I know what many other artists/writers intended to do (whether by their own admission or someone else's analysis) and I still can't apprehend that information on my own. I doubt Carroll will be any different.

That's quite true, but if you do a cost/benefit analysis on the time/effort spent looking for it and the usefulness of the moral, it may not come out to your advantage. :smallwink:

Jay R
2011-07-24, 08:52 AM
Oh goodie, I always wondered if I was missing out on something. I'm quite glad to realise I'm not. If I can't get anything useful out of it, reading it will be a waste of my time.

The logical conclusion, based on the sum total of responses, is that nobody can describe the experience of reading Alice, and that most intelligent people have found it worthwhile. So you can continue to conclude that it is a waste of time, based on your lack of kn0owledge and ignoring everybody's else's actual knowledge of the work. Or you can read the first three or four chapters and find out for yourself.

My experience has been that virtually all intelligent people with quick wits enjoy it, unless they simply cannot enjoy imagination for its own sake. Many others do not. But don't take my word for it - go find out.

Nonsensical? Of course. Reading it is as much a waste of time as pretending to be somebody having adventures in a world of magic, or riding a roller coaster, or kissing someone, or any other activity whose only value is in having done it.


You say that sarcastically, but that's actually what I'm planning on doing when I get to "Pratchett" on my list of authors.

Then don't bother. That's like reading an analysis of kissing rather than kissing someone, or trying to get to another city by reading a book about airplane engines, rather than actually getting on a plane. Come dinner time, will you read about nutrition, or eat a meal?

Analyzing what happens during an experience can have value, but it doesn't replace having the actual experience.

Spiryt
2011-07-24, 08:52 AM
You say that sarcastically, but that's actually what I'm planning on doing when I get to "Pratchett" on my list of authors.


Well, you could state in the very first post, that you're trying to write encyclopedia of motives found in books, know as many plots ever invented as possible, or generally have some unusual hobby, instead of confusing people for 1 full page. :smalltongue:

Because there is nothing really useful in all those books, people read it for the pleasure of reading it.

Reading analysis of Pratchett is pretty much completely pointless, the very style of the author make his books worthwhile.

gkathellar
2011-07-24, 09:03 AM
Why look at Guernica or the Thinker or the Sistine Chapel in real life when you could see some shoddy photo taken on the internet and read some art critic's opinion on it? Why bother to listen to Stravinsky when you could ask someone about him? Why read Nietzsche when you could go over the Wikipedia summary?

EDIT: Swordsage'd.

FatJose
2011-07-24, 09:07 AM
Things

What it comes down to is, you are not a reader. Not a recreational one anyway. That's fine. But readers (who enjoy reading as opposed to using the skill out of necessity) don't read for efficiency and they surely don't read a concentrated summary of a work through the lens of someone they've never met unless they have a college exam and little time.

See, I don't read books specifically because I doubt there's anything good out there outside nonfiction. I only read classics, if anything. Yes, their themes have been lifted over and over already by worse authors. The books don't know that and you can tell. An authentic piece always feels like an authentic piece and it's derivative works will always be derivative. So, no, you don't get the same concepts and ideas that you seem to categorize and quantify so coldly.

Sometimes, though, a newer piece will outshine the classics. Like LotR. I tried reading that book based entirely on my enjoyment of all the copycats that came after. Awful book..in my opinion of course. It's what turned me away from fiction in general, actually. Hours of reading wasted. But you know what? It's my opinion and I got it from actually reading the book. You will never get from cliff notes and summaries made by people pining for you to love and respect it. Nothing efficient about that at all.

Spiryt
2011-07-24, 09:20 AM
See, I don't read books specifically because I doubt there's anything good out there outside nonfiction. I only read classics, if anything. Yes, their themes have been lifted over and over already by worse authors.


So you doubt there's anything good, outside of nonfiction, or not? Maybe my english is failing me, but I can't quite figure that out of this sentence.... :smallredface:

Serpentine
2011-07-24, 09:24 AM
Wow. My mind... it boggles. I presume, then, when it gets right down to it, that you find pure - or mostly - entertainment a "complete waste of your time"? Because that is a concept that I just cannot comprehend, although I guess it makes everything else you've said make more sense in that light.

Xuc Xac
2011-07-24, 09:37 AM
Furthermore, the older a work is, the greater the chances of it being useless, its ideas and insights already lifted by newer generations and presented to me.


There's also the (highly likely) possibility that those newer generations only watered down and bastardized the original ideas.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 09:37 AM
Spoilered for size, as usual.


The logical conclusion, based on the sum total of responses, is that nobody can describe the experience of reading Alice, and that most intelligent people have found it worthwhile. So you can continue to conclude that it is a waste of time, based on your lack of kn0owledge and ignoring everybody's else's actual knowledge of the work. Or you can read the first three or four chapters and find out for yourself.

My experience has been that virtually all intelligent people with quick wits enjoy it, unless they simply cannot enjoy imagination for its own sake. Many others do not. But don't take my word for it - go find out.

Nonsensical? Of course. Reading it is as much a waste of time as pretending to be somebody having adventures in a world of magic, or riding a roller coaster, or kissing someone, or any other activity whose only value is in having done it.

On the contrary, I would argue that engaging in an activity where you are actually developing a skill (such as pretending to be somebody having an adventure in a world of magic) is innately useful, since you are developing a skill. The only skills I could develop while reading a book would be speed-reading, reading comprehension and literary analysis, none of which I have any interest in developing further.


Then don't bother. That's like reading an analysis of kissing rather than kissing someone, or trying to get to another city by reading a book about airplane engines, rather than actually getting on a plane. Come dinner time, will you read about nutrition, or eat a meal?

Analyzing what happens during an experience can have value, but it doesn't replace having the actual experience.

Those are not appropriate examples at all. If you want to go somewhere, you can't get there by reading how to do so. That's only the first step. Furthermore, if you have necessity of something concrete and physical (food), you cannot use something immaterial (reading) to simulate it.


Well, you could state in the very first post, that you're trying to write encyclopedia of motives found in books, know as many plots ever invented as possible, or generally have some unusual hobby, instead of confusing people for 1 full page. :smalltongue:

Because there is nothing really useful in all those books, people read it for the pleasure of reading it.

Reading analysis of Pratchett is pretty much completely pointless, the very style of the author make his books worthwhile.

You're quite correct, it was definitely my mistake to forget that people read for pleasure. I always forget to make that clarification!


Why look at Guernica or the Thinker or the Sistine Chapel in real life when you could see some shoddy photo taken on the internet and read some art critic's opinion on it? Why bother to listen to Stravinsky when you could ask someone about him? Why read Nietzsche when you could go over the Wikipedia summary?

EDIT: Swordsage'd.

Precisely. To you, they might not be the same thing, but to me, they both equally provide me the same thing: knowledge about the work in question.


What it comes down to is, you are not a reader. Not a recreational one anyway. That's fine. But readers (who enjoy reading as opposed to using the skill out of necessity) don't read for efficiency and they surely don't read a concentrated summary of a work through the lens of someone they've never met unless they have a college exam and little time.

And I'm not saying that it's wrong. I respect the people who do that. Why, I actually know, IRL, over two dozen people who do such a thing. And I admire their dedication.


See, I don't read books specifically because I doubt there's anything good out there outside nonfiction. I only read classics, if anything. Yes, their themes have been lifted over and over already by worse authors. The books don't know that and you can tell. An authentic piece always feels like an authentic piece and it's derivative works will always be derivative. So, no, you don't get the same concepts and ideas that you seem to categorize and quantify so coldly.

And that's an ability I do not possess. When given two works unknown to me and asked to determine which is authentic and which is derivative, I need to "cheat," as it were, and judge based on extraneous clues (such as word choices, age of the material, cultural mores, technology and so on). If I were to be shown two films, and the older one had been touched up to look, technology-wise, identical to the newer one, I wouldn't be able to tell (except perhaps by fashion/vocabulary choices and the like) which came first.

So yes, I do get the exact same thing out of them. Except, perhaps, the way in which the concepts are being portrayed. Whether it's useful to see the difference or not greatly varies depending on the work in question. I do not need to see the Twilight movies to learn the differences between the book and the adaptation, because I found the book rather useless (and offensive) in the first place.

And yes, I categorise and quantify concepts and ideas coldly. I do not believe that this is the right way to approach works, nor do I expect anyone to agree with me. I respect other ways of handling art and entertainment.


Sometimes, though, a newer piece will outshine the classics. Like LotR. I tried reading that book based entirely on my enjoyment of all the copycats that came after. Awful book..in my opinion of course. It's what turned me away from fiction in general, actually. Hours of reading wasted. But you know what? It's my opinion and I got it from actually reading the book. You will never get from cliff notes and summaries made by people pining for you to love and respect it. Nothing efficient about that at all.

You assume that I can't discern the difference between the ideas and concepts the summariser is referencing and his own personal opinions, in order to take the former and disregard the latter.


Wow. My mind... it boggles. I presume, then, when it gets right down to it, that you find pure - or mostly - entertainment a "complete waste of your time"? Because that is a concept that I just cannot comprehend, although I guess it makes everything else you've said make more sense in that light.

No, not really. If it provides me with something of use (again, like developing a skill, new ideas, new ways to portray ideas, and so on), it will not be a waste of my time. But yes, it does mean that I am less of a raving entertainment fanatic than most people I know.

EDIT: I always miss one.


There's also the (highly likely) possibility that those newer generations only watered down and bastardized the original ideas.

Quite true, hence why I recognise "showing previously known ideas or concepts in new/better ways" as something of use. However, I add the caveat that this is not an actual hard and fast rule and depends heavily on the work in question.

FatJose
2011-07-24, 09:43 AM
So you doubt there's anything good, outside of nonfiction, or not? Maybe my english is failing me, but I can't quite figure that out of this sentence.... :smallredface:

In newer books, I mean. Not in history. I 'm less interested in new fiction coming out and my tastes are shifting more towards nonfiction.

Spiryt
2011-07-24, 09:52 AM
No, not really. If it provides me with something of use (again, like developing a skill, new ideas, new ways to portray ideas, and so on), it will not be a waste of my time. But yes, it does mean that I am less of a raving entertainment fanatic than most people I know.

I would think of myself as..... not 'entertainment fanatic" at all, to be honest. :smallamused:

Still I read books either because I want some entertainment, because imagining the world author portrayed is fascinating experience.

Or I want to learn something, if book is more non fiction based etc.

Can't say I get your definition of usefulness, because frankly, there's nothing useful, in ideas, skills or whatever in getting to know some books by itself.


On the contrary, I would argue that engaging in an activity where you are actually developing a skill (such as pretending to be somebody having an adventure in a world of magic) is innately useful, since you are developing a skill. The only skills I could develop while reading a book would be speed-reading, reading comprehension and literary analysis, none of which I have any interest in developing further.

Well, that skill is not really useful though.

And by reading a book as a whole, you can at very least train your imagination, to visualize terrain of whatever better....

That's forced, I know, but assuming that reading analysis of x number of books etc. brings anything inherently useful to you is even more forced.


In newer books, I mean. Not in history. I 'm less interested in new fiction coming out and my tastes are shifting more towards nonfiction.

Well, that's interesting considering that you're on boards that in pretty much ~ 80% of section deal with complete fiction, and you have completely fictional creature with completely fictional items in avatar.

That's not any kind of -donkey- holeness on my part, really, just my observation. :smallwink:

Serpentine
2011-07-24, 09:52 AM
No, not really. If it provides me with something of use (again, like developing a skill, new ideas, new ways to portray ideas, and so on), it will not be a waste of my time. But yes, it does mean that I am less of a raving entertainment fanatic than most people I know.You first failed to answer my question, then insulted every single person who doesn't think the same way as you.
Do you, or do you not, do things purely for pleasure and entertainment, or do you believe things must have some practical purpose to be of value to you? If so, then that's fine, and it explains why I cannot understand your perspective - because it's completely alien to my own basis of value. And that simply leaves no room for discussion, because there's no common ground.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 10:14 AM
I would think of myself as..... not 'entertainment fanatic" at all, to be honest. :smallamused:

Still I read books either because I want some entertainment, because imagining the world author portrayed is fascinating experience.

Or I want to learn something, if book is more non fiction based etc.

Can't say I get your definition of usefulness, because frankly, there's nothing useful, in ideas, skills or whatever in getting to know some books by itself.

I would disagree. Some books contain ideas or concepts I've never encountered before, and that makes them useful to me. At least the first (and, usually, only) read.


Well, that skill is not really useful though.

And by reading a book as a whole, you can at very least train your imagination, to visualize terrain of whatever better....

That's forced, I know, but assuming that reading analysis of x number of books etc. brings anything inherently useful to you is even more forced.

I would quite disagree, but that's neither here nor there.

Are you saying that reading analysis is a useless skill? We disagree again.


Well, that's interesting considering that you're on boards that in pretty much ~ 80% of section deal with complete fiction, and you have completely fictional creature with completely fictional items in avatar.

That's not any kind of -donkey- holeness on my part, really, just my observation. :smallwink:

When in Rome, do like a Roman? :smalltongue:


You first failed to answer my question, then insulted every single person who doesn't think the same way as you.
Do you, or do you not, do things purely for pleasure and entertainment, or do you believe things must have some practical purpose to be of value to you? If so, then that's fine, and it explains why I cannot understand your perspective - because it's completely alien to my own basis of value. And that simply leaves no room for discussion, because there's no common ground.

That... was not my intention at all. It was more of a lighthearted, exaggerated joke that, in retrospect, was probably not that funny in the first place, not an attempt to insult at all. My apologies if it came out like that.

I did answer your question. You asked "do you consider X a complete waste of your time?" and I said "No, because of Y."

I do believe that all actions should have some practical purpose, but my definition of "practical purpose" includes things that relieve stress or satisfy an enquiry I have, so they envelop plenty of forms of entertainment.

Serpentine
2011-07-24, 10:20 AM
My question was "do you find pure entertainment a waste of time?", and you answered "not if it has some practical use", which was entirely not my question. It's like answering "do you think murderers are bad?" with "not if they're innocent".
You're still dodging my question, or at least coming at it sideways. Do you consider pure entertainment enough to make something of value to you? Because I would consider, in this specific example, Lewis Carrol and Jabberwocky, and nonsense in general, to be extremely entertaining and therefore of value in itself. If you do not consider pure entertainment of value for its own sake - or, hell, if you simply don't find nonsense of any kind entertaining - then it is understandable that you would refuse to read such things solely for the pleasure of the style and content.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 10:24 AM
You're still dodging my question, or at least coming at it sideways. Do you consider pure entertainment enough to make something of value to you? Because I would consider, in this specific example, Lewis Carrol and Jabberwocky, and nonsense in general, to be extremely entertaining and therefore of value in itself. If you do not consider pure entertainment of value for its own sake, then it is understandable that you would refuse to read such things solely for the pleasure of the style and content.

If I can't get nothing out of it but pure entertainment, and I could not use it to relieve stress (because the puzzlement of confusion would prevent me from achieving that), then yes, it would be a waste of my time. However, that doesn't meant that I wouldn't recommend it to a friend who's into nonsense literature or I wouldn't buy it as a gift for someone who's into the English classics. Just because I can't get any use out of it doesn't mean other people can't enjoy it all the same.

Killer Angel
2011-07-24, 10:26 AM
Just to add a citation from the poem:

"One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back"

Serpentine
2011-07-24, 10:30 AM
You missed one:
He took his vorpal sword in hand.
Long time the manxom foe he sought
So rested he, by the tumtum tree
And stood a while in thought.

If I can't get nothing out of it but pure entertainment, and I could not use it to relieve stress (because the puzzlement of confusion would prevent me from achieving that), then yes, it would be a waste of my time. However, that doesn't meant that I wouldn't recommend it to a friend who's into nonsense literature or I wouldn't buy it as a gift for someone who's into the English classics. Just because I can't get any use out of it doesn't mean other people can't enjoy it all the same.Alright. Then we're coming at this from completely different angles, because for me the primary appeal of Jabberwocky and Carrol in general is its entertainment value, which for me is both substantial and sufficient, with the maths and cultural commentary a snazzy and interesting bonus.

gkathellar
2011-07-24, 10:32 AM
Precisely. To you, they might not be the same thing, but to me, they both equally provide me the same thing: knowledge about the work in question.

That's a fascinating viewpoint, actually. I'm a little repulsed by it, but it's still fascinating.

The problem I see with it is that there's no "correct" knowledge about art beyond the purely factual — most knowledge of art is essentially emotional knowledge. Criticism and analysis can help contextualize and examine that emotional knowledge, "refine" it if you would, but it can't actually give you any such knowledge. What's most striking about Guernica is not that it can evoke horror, but the actual experience of that horror. What's most striking about the Symphony for a Thousand is not that it's grandiose, but rather the feeling of being swept up in that grandiosity. And when it comes to philosophers, you can almost universally guarantee that the Wikipedia summary missed something very, very important.

That knowledge — emotional knowledge — seems no more useless than any other form of knowledge, really. "All knowledge is ultimately self-knowledge," as Bruce Lee said. Emotional knowledge is a very specific kind of self-knowledge, and you can't get it anywhere besides the actual experience of it. Artistic criticism can help to develop that knowledge, but not if it's not there in the first place.

Further, actually knowing the work allows you to formulate your own interpretations, and actually understand the interpretations of others well enough to accept or discount them with intelligence. See, if you haven't read Hamlet, I can make all sorts of wild claims about it, and you won't have the knowledge to say: "no, Hamlet is not suffering from an elektra complex and transgender denial." But if you've bothered to read it, than you can find genuine insight and actually develop your own opinion.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 10:59 AM
Alright. Then we're coming at this from completely different angles, because for me the primary appeal of Jabberwocky and Carrol in general is its entertainment value, which for me is both substantial and sufficient, with the maths and cultural commentary a snazzy and interesting bonus.

Yeah, and that's fine. It's okay for people to have utterly different viewpoints on a subject. Isn't that common in politics, too? :smallamused:

For the record, I do hope I haven't come across as dismissive. It really does amaze me that people can find value in things that have no immediate use, like decoration and fashion. I think that, in some ways, it makes their lives richer.


That's a fascinating viewpoint, actually. I'm a little repulsed by it, but it's still fascinating.

The problem I see with it is that there's no "correct" knowledge about art beyond the purely factual — most knowledge of art is essentially emotional knowledge. Criticism and analysis can help contextualize and examine that emotional knowledge, "refine" it if you would, but it can't actually give you any such knowledge. What's most striking about Guernica is not that it can evoke horror, but the actual experience of that horror. What's most striking about the Symphony for a Thousand is not that it's grandiose, but rather the feeling of being swept up in that grandiosity. And when it comes to philosophers, you can almost universally guarantee that the Wikipedia summary missed something very, very important.

And I'm comfortable with knowing that whatever knowledge I acquire from art might not be correct. Emotional knowledge is just as valid as mathematics, linguistics, trivia or quantum physics. It all depends on whether you believe you can get some use out of it.

Not all knowledge can be apprehended in the same ways, for example. Not everyone will experience the same emotional response from the same works. If that's the entirety of the appeal of a work, it might not be worth experiencing in the first place. After all, what happens if one experiences the work and gains no emotional knowledge out of it? It would be far preferable and efficient to read "Guernica can evoke horror" than experiencing Guernica and feeling nothing whatsoever.


That knowledge — emotional knowledge — seems no more useless than any other form of knowledge, really. "All knowledge is ultimately self-knowledge," as Bruce Lee said. Emotional knowledge is a very specific kind of self-knowledge, and you can't get it anywhere besides the actual experience of it. Artistic criticism can help to develop that knowledge, but not if it's not there in the first place.

And I completely agree. That's why I don't discriminate between types of knowledge, I discriminate based on what uses I can get out of those different types of knowledge.


Further, actually knowing the work allows you to formulate your own interpretations, and actually understand the interpretations of others well enough to accept or discount them with intelligence. See, if you haven't read Hamlet, I can make all sorts of wild claims about it, and you won't have the knowledge to say: "no, Hamlet is not suffering from an elektra complex and transgender denial." But if you've bothered to read it, than you can find genuine insight and actually develop your own opinion.

But it ultimately doesn't matter what my interpretations are if I can't put them to good use. It's preferable to take someone else's interpretations, if they are more useful, and simply go with that. That's why "official" or "widely accepted" interpretations are worthy of being appropriated as if they were one's own, because their usefulness when the subject comes up could be greater than whatever one can produce. After all, it might be more useful to me to say "Oh, yes, Animal Farm is a criticism of the Soviet policies and ideals back in the Cold War" and make a good impression to someone else, rather than spout my own interpretations and end up arguing about them with the person I intend to get on the good side of.

This is an example, of course, but you get my point. Conversely, one's own interpretations have their use as well. A person might be more inclined to be impressed by a unique interpretation than by the "official" version.

Quietus
2011-07-24, 11:17 AM
Yeah, and that's fine. It's okay for people to have utterly different viewpoints on a subject. Isn't that common in politics, too? :smallamused:

For the record, I do hope I haven't come across as dismissive. It really does amaze me that people can find value in things that have no immediate use, like decoration and fashion. I think that, in some ways, it makes their lives richer.

You really kind of do come off as dismissive. {{scrubbed}}

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 11:38 AM
You really kind of do come off as dismissive. {Scrubbed the post, scrub the quote.}

That's definitely something I'll have to work on, it seems. I do consider other viewpoints, but the truth is that I've heard a lot of the things I'm hearing here before and I'm mostly responding out of politeness's sake, since I am trying to avoid coming off as dismissive, and ignoring valid points made against me is rather impolite.


{Scrubbed the post, scrub the quote.}

And that's funny, because I can't do rote memorisation of facts. I can't recall formulae, constants, names or dates for more than a few minutes after reading them. I'm far better at understanding/explaining processes and connections.

You make perfectly valid points, but it's still my prerogative to determine whether the benefits I will be gaining from undertaking an action (developing critical thinking skills) will be worth the cost (time/effort spent) or if I could gain more by investing those assets elsewhere.

Quietus
2011-07-24, 11:46 AM
You make perfectly valid points, but it's still my prerogative to determine whether the benefits I will be gaining from undertaking an action (developing critical thinking skills) will be worth the cost (time/effort spent) or if I could gain more by investing those assets elsewhere.

Oh, I completely agree. What you find.. well, not "fun", apparently, but useful (see what I did there? :smalltongue:) is entirely up to you, and I won't criticize you for your preferences. I posted mostly to try and politely point out how at least one person views your stance here, as sometimes I find that a person willing to holdup a mirror and show me what I look like from another person's eyes is invaluable. You seemed to be the type of person who could, at the very least, appreciate such a thing.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 11:59 AM
Oh, I completely agree. What you find.. well, not "fun", apparently, but useful (see what I did there? :smalltongue:) is entirely up to you, and I won't criticize you for your preferences. I posted mostly to try and politely point out how at least one person views your stance here, as sometimes I find that a person willing to holdup a mirror and show me what I look like from another person's eyes is invaluable. You seemed to be the type of person who could, at the very least, appreciate such a thing.

And I do. I was presented a few new points that have been given me plenty to think about, and for that, I deem my investment of time and energy in these posts to have been useful. My thanks! :smalltongue:

Now we can keep on talking about the vorpal enhancement. I heard it was Lewis Carroll who invented it, but I can't be entirely sure.

Yukitsu
2011-07-24, 12:54 PM
Why look at Guernica or the Thinker or the Sistine Chapel in real life when you could see some shoddy photo taken on the internet and read some art critic's opinion on it? Why bother to listen to Stravinsky when you could ask someone about him? Why read Nietzsche when you could go over the Wikipedia summary?

EDIT: Swordsage'd.

Can't speak for the others, but Nietzsche was a few key traits short of an ubermensch. (in more ways than one) Like, to the point that reading his stuff was mostly summed up as "WTF???".

Quietus
2011-07-24, 01:43 PM
And I do. I was presented a few new points that have been given me plenty to think about, and for that, I deem my investment of time and energy in these posts to have been useful. My thanks! :smalltongue:

Now we can keep on talking about the vorpal enhancement. I heard it was Lewis Carroll who invented it, but I can't be entirely sure.

Hm. I don't know. I think I heard that it was first in some book, "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There"?

Asthix
2011-07-24, 02:03 PM
Apparently, only role playing games have appropriated the meaning of vorpal in any way, though I suppose that's not surprising considering it's an impossible, nonsense term. I did learn that you can technically vorpalize anything with an edge. Has anyone ever encountered anything besides a vorpal blade in their campaigning?

Fascinating and I think, constructive conversation for the most part in this thread.


Analyzing what happens during an experience can have value, but it doesn't replace having the actual experience.

This is why I think people read fiction. Fiction is an experience first, something to be analyzed and applied second. Fiction in a classroom setting switches these priorities and that's why it can never be as satisfying under those conditions, IMO. That's why I disagree with Shadowknight.

Sebastrd
2011-07-24, 02:57 PM
I actually think that Jennings has a very good point and I can't refute it in the slightest. Seeing things in new ways is useful, because it provides one with new perspectives. However, if I can't comprehend what is being said, I can't actually get any use out of it. I comprehended Jennings, so I can follow his points and get a new viewpoint out of them. If I can't comprehend Carroll, I won't be able to do that.

I think you are what he refers to as "the wrong kind of reader". I mean that as an observation, not an insult, but you're free to interpret it as you will.

NecroRebel
2011-07-24, 03:01 PM
Apparently, only role playing games have appropriated the meaning of vorpal in any way, though I suppose that's not surprising considering it's an impossible, nonsense term. I did learn that you can technically vorpalize anything with an edge. Has anyone ever encountered anything besides a vorpal blade in their campaigning?

Fascinating and I think, constructive conversation for the most part in this thread.

Well, there is always the Vorpal Bunny...

Usually, though, "vorpal" is used as an adjective meaning "unusually good at severing limbs, esp. heads," it's mainly applied to slashing or hacking weapons. I suppose you could have a vorpal club, but it's just harder to visualize and as such less common.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-24, 03:13 PM
This is why I think people read fiction. Fiction is an experience first, something to be analyzed and applied second. Fiction in a classroom setting switches these priorities and that's why it can never be as satisfying under those conditions, IMO. That's why I disagree with Shadowknight.

In all fairness, I read my fair share of fiction. I do so for different reasons than most, however, because I do it for the analysis first. Finding an "experience" is not something I can actually rely upon, so it's rather impractical to use that as an actual goal. It's simply a pleasant bonus when it happens, such as when you have a nice day at work.


I think you are what he refers to as "the wrong kind of reader". I mean that as an observation, not an insult, but you're free to interpret it as you will.

On the contrary! It's not an insult at all. It is a helpful observation, because it validates my pre-judgements.

Asthix
2011-07-24, 03:40 PM
Well, there is always the Vorpal Bunny...

The example given in the Urban dictionary is for a vorpal cube which would make an extremely hard to damage cube. Very cost prohibitive to make but interesting nonetheless.

Shadowknight: I should have clarified to say, 'This is why I think most people read books.' It was meant as an observation about why we read fiction, not to suggest that you do not.

Following this, would you agree that authors of fiction do so to create an experience first, and that considerations of how it could be analyzed and applied come after? IMO any author that places the latter foremost will only write bad fiction.

Yukitsu
2011-07-24, 04:00 PM
In all fairness, I read my fair share of fiction. I do so for different reasons than most, however, because I do it for the analysis first. Finding an "experience" is not something I can actually rely upon, so it's rather impractical to use that as an actual goal. It's simply a pleasant bonus when it happens, such as when you have a nice day at work.

Don't worry, you'll grow out of it when you hit about 60 or so. Or so I've heard anyway.

Dimers
2011-07-25, 01:12 AM
Has anyone ever encountered anything besides a vorpal blade in their campaigning?

Yes, a vorpal club. It was ... not ... um, not quite RAW, but lots of fun. Knock people's heads clean off. Pretty much as nonsense as the original, I suppose.


I believe a number of words first used in the poem are now in common use in the English lexicon, but I'm not certain of that.

Three of them, depending on your evaluation of "common", of course. The three I claim are burble, gallumph and chortle. Maybe whiffle as well, but I find it more emotionally likely (without any actual knowledge) that the Wiffle Bat/Ball got its name from onomatopeia than from a literary reference.

Not in common usage in English: brilling slithy tove gimble wabe mimsy borogove mome rath gribe (used past tense and with a preposition as "outgrabe") frumious manxome uffish tulgey snicker-snack beamish frabjous calloo callay.

Serpentine
2011-07-25, 02:20 AM
Gallumph and chortle certainly, and maybe frabjous and beamish.

Tyndmyr
2011-07-25, 09:41 AM
Why look at Guernica or the Thinker or the Sistine Chapel in real life when you could see some shoddy photo taken on the internet and read some art critic's opinion on it? Why bother to listen to Stravinsky when you could ask someone about him? Why read Nietzsche when you could go over the Wikipedia summary?

EDIT: Swordsage'd.

Honestly, after reading Nietzche, I wished I'd just stuck to wikipedia. Dude loved repetition of ideas. Sure, he's not the only philosopher to do so, but still. Sometimes just reading the analysis IS the way to go.

I was also fairly unimpressed with Carroll's works. They might be relevant if you enjoy english lit history or what not, but I feel that yes, incomprehensible characters do detract from a story. They would not appear on any list of books I reccomend to others.

Arbane
2011-07-25, 12:16 PM
Apparently, only role playing games have appropriated the meaning of vorpal in any way, though I suppose that's not surprising considering it's an impossible, nonsense term. I did learn that you can technically vorpalize anything with an edge. Has anyone ever encountered anything besides a vorpal blade in their campaigning?


ISTR Munchkin has a "Vorpal Mace", and the Vorpal Bunny (aka Monty Python's Killer Rabbit) has already been mentioned.

Daftendirekt
2011-07-25, 02:28 PM
It's like a Victorian XKCD.

Oh dear. I have to read it now.

Inkpencil
2011-07-25, 02:51 PM
Life's too short not to waste some time now and then.

Jastermereel
2011-07-25, 03:50 PM
To those thinking about reading (or rereading) Wonderland and Looking-Glass, I'd strongly recommend reading Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice. The original text is very clever, but many of the references are now quite obscure so Gardner's decoding of it makes for a much more enjoyable read.

0Megabyte
2011-07-25, 03:58 PM
The unspoken irony of all this, of course, is that a person who claims to not be interested in reading things which don't give him something productive is discussing it on a comic book's forum... which is generally considered by many in the real world as a blatant, abject waste of time itself.

Just thought I'd point out the humor. (and yes, I am imagine he can find something worthwhile here. But my grandpa would have gotten it. As he might suggest, "if you have time to talk at length about how you don't read books that have no practical applications, you have time to weed the garden. Now go git out there!")

Luminescence
2011-07-25, 05:51 PM
Honestly, after reading Nietzche, I wished I'd just stuck to wikipedia. Dude loved repetition of ideas. Sure, he's not the only philosopher to do so, but still. Sometimes just reading the analysis IS the way to go.

Reading the analysis is never the way to go if you want a comprehensive understanding of the material. Maybe it's a place to start, but the way to go? No.

Yukitsu
2011-07-25, 05:57 PM
Reading the analysis is never the way to go if you want a comprehensive understanding of the material. Maybe it's a place to start, but the way to go? No.

Make an exception for Nietzche. Man's babbling ranting insane, and not in the entertaining way.

Otacon17
2011-07-25, 06:22 PM
Make an exception for Nietzche. Man's babbling ranting insane, and not in the entertaining way.

:smallconfused: Funny, I always found him quite interesting...

Luminescence
2011-07-25, 07:17 PM
Make an exception for Nietzche. Man's babbling ranting insane, and not in the entertaining way.

On the contrary, he is among the most lucid and coherent writers of Western philosophy.

Rockphed
2011-07-25, 08:01 PM
If you already know how the story is going to be, because someone ripped it off (regardless of whether they have done so poorly or greatly), what's the point in reading the original? The best reason would be "to see how the idea can be executed properly." Not being a fan of the idea in the first place, I'm afraid Lewis Carroll has nothing to offer to me. I'm not saying that he's terrible, only that the prospect of reading him is not appealing to me in the slightest.

And here is the greatest problem facing our age. People see crudely made imitations and think that such mirror the entirety of the originals vastness. Consider the difference between Michelangelo's David and something made 20 years ago by some neo-chauvinist. The original is full of grace while the latter would be but a crude set of limbs with a giant phallus being the central piece of the work.


And besides, what's the point in reading the actual work when I can read the literary analysis made by experts and extract those ideas and insights without having to actually touch the work at all? It strikes me as the most efficient thing to do.

The simple fact of the matter is that reading an analysis will teach you nothing of technique. To learn technique from other writers, you must actually read their works rather than simply reading about their works. Also, are not many analyses written with the a priori assumption that the reader has already read the work in question?



@^ Why see a Shakespeare play when you can just read the study notes and see Ten Things I Hate About You?

The Alice stories are easily comprehensible :smallconfused: They're children's stories for crying out loud.

Because Shakespeare is, despite claims to the contrary, about more than sex, violence, gratification, or stupidity. Having watched Hamlet, I now actually understand what the play is about, whereas if I had read it, or analyses thereof, I would still assume it was about a prince who goes crazy because he isn't man enough to deal.

And just because something is marketed toward children does not make it a "children's story". Take "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" for instance. Marketed toward children. Not really aimed there. Or, perhaps aimed at children much better than modern "Kiddie Lit."


You say that sarcastically, but that's actually what I'm planning on doing when I get to "Pratchett" on my list of authors.

You will, among other things, miss all the glorious puns. And the pacing. And everything else that makes them more than trite stories copied from somewhere else using ideas that were laying about that the author grabbed and ran off before someone noticed he had taken them.

In short, you will miss the entire point.


The logical conclusion, based on the sum total of responses, is that nobody can describe the experience of reading Alice, and that most intelligent people have found it worthwhile. So you can continue to conclude that it is a waste of time, based on your lack of kn0owledge and ignoring everybody's else's actual knowledge of the work. Or you can read the first three or four chapters and find out for yourself.

My experience has been that virtually all intelligent people with quick wits enjoy it, unless they simply cannot enjoy imagination for its own sake. Many others do not. But don't take my word for it - go find out.

Alice is much like following the mind of a child. It makes quick the transitions that an adult mind thinks should be slow and draws out the transitions that an adult hardly notices at all. It is exact where it does not matter and vague where details should abound. It is a joy and a pain to read. I commend it to all men. And women. And things that reject traditional conventions on categorization.


Nonsensical? Of course. Reading it is as much a waste of time as pretending to be somebody having adventures in a world of magic, or riding a roller coaster, or kissing someone, or any other activity whose only value is in having done it.

I disagree with your assessment of kissing people. Kissing can be used quite effectively to change the emotional attitude towards yourself. It requires a bit of emotional attachment before such works, but after said attachment, it works like a charm.Exalted charm-smiths! To your forges! I must have this charm.


Analyzing what happens during an experience can have value, but it doesn't replace having the actual experience.

Hear! Hear!


To those thinking about reading (or rereading) Wonderland and Looking-Glass, I'd strongly recommend reading Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice. The original text is very clever, but many of the references are now quite obscure so Gardner's decoding of it makes for a much more enjoyable read.

That is, in fact, the only version of Alice I have ever read. It was enjoyable, though I wish I had paid more attention to the footnotes.

Quietus
2011-07-25, 08:04 PM
It appears I may owe you an apology, Shadowknight. Apparently my previous comment - the one you mentioned possibly having to work on - was classified as flaming/trolling by the mods. It wasn't intended as such on my end, and I didn't see any indication that you took it that way, but if that's the case I apologize. I was attempting to subtly edge around outright asking something, and instead apparently came across as crass, at best.

Seffbasilisk
2011-07-25, 08:10 PM
Snicker-Snack.

Ravens_cry
2011-07-25, 08:14 PM
Snicker-Snack.
A Beheading with Every Bite™!

Epinephrine
2011-07-25, 08:21 PM
Little known is the fact that the word appeared in print in a bit of doggerel by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, in the same year that Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There was published (1871). I'm not sure, but I think a case could be made for Dodgson having invented the term.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-25, 08:31 PM
Don't worry, you'll grow out of it when you hit about 60 or so. Or so I've heard anyway.

I surely hope that never happens to me. :smallyuk:


And here is the greatest problem facing our age. People see crudely made imitations and think that such mirror the entirety of the originals vastness. Consider the difference between Michelangelo's David and something made 20 years ago by some neo-chauvinist. The original is full of grace while the latter would be but a crude set of limbs with a giant phallus being the central piece of the work.

I never said "the entirety." It is conceivable that I have no interest in the entirety of a work. I may only be interested in what I can use and apply. This is just a piece of good-natured advice, but you might want to avoid assuming that the emotional experience that can be derived from such works is, in fact, universal for all those who come in contact with it. Because it's not.


The simple fact of the matter is that reading an analysis will teach you nothing of technique. To learn technique from other writers, you must actually read their works rather than simply reading about their works. Also, are not many analyses written with the a priori assumption that the reader has already read the work in question?

That is completely correct. That's why the first caveat I introduced in my early posts about the subject was that I considered "to see how a concept can be properly executed" a use for a work. Then I reiterated that stance adding the condition that it was very much a case-by-case thing.

Not necessarily. There are plenty of analysis that do not assume such a thing. You may call them "summaries with an included analysis," but they're, for all purposes and effects, the same thing.


Because Shakespeare is, despite claims to the contrary, about more than sex, violence, gratification, or stupidity. Having watched Hamlet, I now actually understand what the play is about, whereas if I had read it, or analyses thereof, I would still assume it was about a prince who goes crazy because he isn't man enough to deal.

That is simply untrue. Or, I should say, that is not necessarily true at all. If you know that Hamlet is about more than a prince who goes crazy because he isn't man enough to deal, then a great deal many more people will have also realised this. A percentage of these people will put their thoughts into written form and leave them on display for the public to benefit from them. I can, in fact, apprehend the same conclusions you arrived to on your own, by reading an analysis. Any information you can apprehend from the work in question can be put into written form and I can apprehend them in turn. You are completely right that I will be lacking the actual experience of the work in question, but the information? I will possess it all the same.


You will, among other things, miss all the glorious puns. And the pacing. And everything else that makes them more than trite stories copied from somewhere else using ideas that were laying about that the author grabbed and ran off before someone noticed he had taken them.

In short, you will miss the entire point.

And if I am only interested in the ideas themselves, and only selectively interested in the execution of such ideas (again, on a case-by-case basis)? If I do not experience or notice all those things you mention already, why can't I not focus on the things I actually can get some use out of, rather than continue to miss the point, as you so aptly put it?


It appears I may owe you an apology, Shadowknight. Apparently my previous comment - the one you mentioned possibly having to work on - was classified as flaming/trolling by the mods. It wasn't intended as such on my end, and I didn't see any indication that you took it that way, but if that's the case I apologize. I was attempting to subtly edge around outright asking something, and instead apparently came across as crass, at best.

I have to say, I have no idea why it was seen that way by the moderating team. You'd think that I would be asked if I took offence or not, especially when it was put forth in such a polite and educated way. Ah, well, I suppose there's nothing that can be done about it.

For what it's worth, there's no need to apologise, it never even crossed my mind that what you said could be offensive in the slightest.

Yukitsu
2011-07-25, 10:26 PM
:smallconfused: Funny, I always found him quite interesting...

I'm probably just biased against him. I didn't get to just read his works passively, I had to deconstruct the arguments, and when you're doing that, the syphilis really shows through.

Otacon17
2011-07-26, 01:24 AM
I'm probably just biased against him. I didn't get to just read his works passively, I had to deconstruct the arguments, and when you're doing that, the syphilis really shows through.

Ah, yeah, it's generally harder to enjoy something that you're forced into doing, I suppose. I'm biased against Dickens for similar reasons.

If I may ask, though, which of Nietzsche's works were your reading? I haven't gotten around to reading much of his later stuff, but I know that some of it (or, at the very least, The Will to Power) was heavily 'edited' by both his sister and Peter Gast after his death.

aazru
2011-07-26, 04:03 AM
I always thought "vorpal" was derived in some way from "to warp/warp". Live and learn, I guess.

Serpentine
2011-07-26, 04:31 AM
Little known is the fact that the word appeared in print in a bit of doggerel by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, in the same year that Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There was published (1871). I'm not sure, but I think a case could be made for Dodgson having invented the term.A challenger appears?
Seriously, any source on that? I'd be interested to see it.

Cespenar
2011-07-26, 04:35 AM
A challenger appears?
Seriously, any source on that? I'd be interested to see it.

Here's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Lutwidge_Dodgson) the source. :smallbiggrin:

Serpentine
2011-07-26, 05:18 AM
Damn. I got got. Bravo!
I think that wins that train of posts...

Yukitsu
2011-07-26, 07:52 AM
Ah, yeah, it's generally harder to enjoy something that you're forced into doing, I suppose. I'm biased against Dickens for similar reasons.

If I may ask, though, which of Nietzsche's works were your reading? I haven't gotten around to reading much of his later stuff, but I know that some of it (or, at the very least, The Will to Power) was heavily 'edited' by both his sister and Peter Gast after his death.

Oh no, I've been "forced" to read tons of philosophers, Nietzsche is just one of the ones that didn't come out as making any real sense when you did so critically. I read Gay Science and Thus Spoke Zarathustra predominantly with a few cherry picked articles from the rest of his works.

Rockphed
2011-07-27, 02:41 PM
This is just a piece of good-natured advice, but you might want to avoid assuming that the emotional experience that can be derived from such works is, in fact, universal for all those who come in contact with it. Because it's not.

Never said it was. In fact, such idea flies in the face of my other arguments. If the emotional experience were universal, then it would be simple to translate such into a new work. Hence my utterly ridiculous example of improper translating of emotional experience into a new work.

As to the origins of "vorpal" I think the playground could come up with a reasonable etymology thereof if we so desired. Aside from being an interesting onomatopoeia for "sharp" or the noise swords make when swung, are there any other ideas for its origin in Dobson's mind?

gkathellar
2011-07-27, 03:04 PM
I'm probably just biased against him. I didn't get to just read his works passively, I had to deconstruct the arguments, and when you're doing that, the syphilis really shows through.

The syphilis claim was never proven, and if you're reading him correctly he makes sense from the beginning of his career to right up to its conclusion. The problem is that he uses imagery and symbolism in a very precise way, and a way that is unique to him personally at times, because he didn't particularly care about the opinions of people who couldn't follow him.

EDIT: He also didn't really try to cater to people who hadn't read his earlier works in the text of his later ones.

Wardog
2011-07-27, 03:18 PM
Could it not be said that one of the "practical" reasons for reading a novel or watching a play or viewing art, rather than merely reading an analysis of it, is because of what it will tell you about yourself.

Wether you are moved by Guernica, or are not moved by Guernica (or the Illiad, or a piece of music, etc) is in itself a piece of knowledge, and one that you cannot get by any other means.

Plus, other people's analysis of something may miss aspect, or have interpreted it in light of their own preconceptions.

Yukitsu
2011-07-27, 05:24 PM
The syphilis claim was never proven, and if you're reading him correctly he makes sense from the beginning of his career to right up to its conclusion. The problem is that he uses imagery and symbolism in a very precise way, and a way that is unique to him personally at times, because he didn't particularly care about the opinions of people who couldn't follow him.

EDIT: He also didn't really try to cater to people who hadn't read his earlier works in the text of his later ones.

He makes linguistic sense, not logical sense. In a philosopher, the latter matters as much as the former, and many of his arguments were not logically cogent, even assuming tremendous amounts of euphemism. It's the reason academia didn't really take his work all that seriously by contrast to say, Kant, who is considerably more rational up until fairly recently by philosophical standards. Most of his followers were poets and politicians, and he's more commonly analyzed by modern philosophers rather than supported. (Because it seems people enjoy disassembling labyrinthine works with little substance and making them possible to understand, but leave alone the well written philosophy as self evident in its content)

gkathellar
2011-07-27, 06:24 PM
He makes linguistic sense, not logical sense. In a philosopher, the latter matters as much as the former, and many of his arguments were not logically cogent, even assuming tremendous amounts of euphemism.

Uh ... no. His logic isn't at all difficult to follow once you learn how to do so. I've taken tremendously enjoyable courses on Nietzsche, and found him to be insightful and very, very cohesive and clever throughout his work. (And considering you've only read Gay Science and Thus Spoke, I would hesitate to make sweeping claims if I were you.)

What exactly did you find so difficult to follow?


It's the reason academia didn't really take his work all that seriously by contrast to say, Kant, who is considerably more rational up until fairly recently by philosophical standards. Most of his followers were poets and politicians, and he's more commonly analyzed by modern philosophers rather than supported.

He wasn't taken all that seriously by other philosophers of his time because he didn't write like a philosopher, and because he was extremely judgmental of them and their work. Nietzsche tore into Kant and Plato with tremendous enthusiasm, and nobody liked that. But bear in mind that he was a key influence on Foucault and Heidegger (who produced an excellent analysis of his work).

In any case, you say "modern philosophers" almost as though it's an insult. I hate to tell you this, but the past isn't implicitly better than the present.


(Because it seems people enjoy disassembling labyrinthine works with little substance and making them possible to understand, but leave alone the well written philosophy as self evident in its content)

Maybe some people actually find him insightful. (Also: well-written? Did you read him in German?)

Yukitsu
2011-07-27, 07:14 PM
Uh ... no. His logic isn't at all difficult to follow once you learn how to do so. I've taken tremendously enjoyable courses on Nietzsche, and found him to be insightful and very, very cohesive and clever throughout his work. (And considering you've only read Gay Science and Thus Spoke, I would hesitate to make sweeping claims if I were you.)

What exactly did you find so difficult to follow?

I didn't say I only read those. I said I only read those in completion. The remainder I only read portions that were assigned, mostly because I don't enjoy reading Nietzsche. The difficulty is that pretty much every person interprets his core arguments slightly differently, because he doesn't freaking write clearly, and making his arguments into formal predicate logic, is like pulling teeth.


He wasn't taken all that seriously by other philosophers of his time because he didn't write like a philosopher,

Yes, that's pretty much exactly the problem. :smallconfused:


and because he was extremely judgmental of them and their work. Nietzsche tore into Kant and Plato with tremendous enthusiasm, and nobody liked that. But bear in mind that he was a key influence on Foucault and Heidegger (who produced an excellent analysis of his work).

Heideggar was, though in a turn on Nietzsche in deference of respect, he was probably less insane than Heidegger, though that may be a bias against nazis. At any rate, he was even less coherent than Nietzsche to the point that any analysis of his that I've read has brought up multiple interpretations as to just what he was trying to even say as his conclusions. And you can't say "he's actually quite comprehensible" as it's generally agreed that he argued that being unintelligible was beneficial to philosophy. Nietzsche was vague and couldn't write in anything translatable to syllogisms without a great deal of reluctance on what he meant by each term, but Heidegger was just incomprehensible. Foucalt I generally viewed more as a sociologist as opposed to a philosopher, as those are the issues he often seems to prefer discussing. I only really know him as an opponent of Kant, which isn't precisely uncommon from any framework other than Kantians.


In any case, you say "modern philosophers" almost as though it's an insult. I hate to tell you this, but the past isn't implicitly better than the present.

Their philosophies are fine. I love Noam Chomsky for instance. I just think they really, really like looking at things that aren't worth looking at way, way too closely. Especially things they don't agree with. Then again, I won't begrudge them spending time on things that interest them, I'll just look at them and go "WTF?"


Maybe some people actually find him insightful. (Also: well-written? Did you read him in German?)

While it's possible that people do find him insightful, the majority of philosophers that do analyze his works are dramatically divergent of both his ideas and style, and don't really seem eager to step up to the plate to defend his views. As for reading it in German, good lord no. However, that shouldn't be any excuse for a lack of clarity of his intended meaning. Other translations from German to English don't seem to have the same problems as Nietzsche, and I can't honestly fathom that it would be the translator's fault in all cases for a lack of particularity.

stainboy
2011-07-27, 08:29 PM
And you can't say "he's actually quite comprehensible" as it's generally agreed that he argued that being unintelligible was beneficial to philosophy.

It takes a great con artist to explain the con to the marks, and then sucker them anyway.

Steward
2011-07-27, 09:50 PM
I'd like to note that this:


I didn't get to just read his works passively, I had to deconstruct the arguments, and when you're doing that, the syphilis really shows through.

cracked me up.

Carry on!

gkathellar
2011-07-28, 06:43 AM
I didn't say I only read those. I said I only read those in completion. The remainder I only read portions that were assigned, mostly because I don't enjoy reading Nietzsche. The difficulty is that pretty much every person interprets his core arguments slightly differently, because he doesn't freaking write clearly, and making his arguments into formal predicate logic, is like pulling teeth.

I'm sorry I misinterpreted your earlier statement. Still, almost everyone interprets almost everyone slightly differently. That's why philosophy is a field that stands distinct from literary analysis and logic.


Yes, that's pretty much exactly the problem. :smallconfused:

It's not a problem at all. Nietzsche was very interested in "metaphilosophy," or the examination of philosophy from an outside viewpoint. A great deal of what he says connects to the idea that "rationalist" thinking is not inherently better than "irrationalist" thinking, as both are essentially predicated on the same things (see On Truth and Lie In the Extra-Moral Sense).

As a rule, Nietzsche is interested in (although not wholly embracing of) intuition and intuitive philosophy. When he writes in aphorism, its because each aphorism is meant largely to express the whole of his internal canon in a specific way. (Remember, he's trying to construct an answer to nihilism, that philosophy that invalidates pretty much everything that comes before it with a wave of its hand. He needs something holistic for that.)

Beyond this, look at his non-aphorism work in Genealogy of Morals, or at his earlier work in The Birth of Tragedy (a work he eventually rejected for separate reasons). Both are very clear and coherent, and also very dry.


Heideggar was, though in a turn on Nietzsche in deference of respect, he was probably less insane than Heidegger, though that may be a bias against nazis.

No one in their right man would say Heidegger was a nice man — but he was an insightful one.


At any rate, he was even less coherent than Nietzsche to the point that any analysis of his that I've read has brought up multiple interpretations as to just what he was trying to even say as his conclusions. And you can't say "he's actually quite comprehensible" as it's generally agreed that he argued that being unintelligible was beneficial to philosophy. Nietzsche was vague and couldn't write in anything translatable to syllogisms without a great deal of reluctance on what he meant by each term, but Heidegger was just incomprehensible.

You and I must have been reading different Heidegger, then. He's not that difficult to follow, although some of his concepts are a little nebulous. Nonetheless, you seem to be of the attitude that if there's not a unified understanding of and critical viewpoint of a philosopher, they must be babbling incomprehensibly ... but sometimes people are just working at such a complex level that they're hard to follow.


Foucalt I generally viewed more as a sociologist as opposed to a philosopher, as those are the issues he often seems to prefer discussing. I only really know him as an opponent of Kant, which isn't precisely uncommon from any framework other than Kantians.

Okay.


Their philosophies are fine. I love Noam Chomsky for instance. I just think they really, really like looking at things that aren't worth looking at way, way too closely. Especially things they don't agree with. Then again, I won't begrudge them spending time on things that interest them, I'll just look at them and go "WTF?"

It's because many philosophers are of the opinion that you need to "deal" with Nietzsche, in the same way that you need to "deal" with Socrates and Kant. He said some things that are very important to the history of philosophy and its development, and is essentially the first meta-philosopher.


While it's possible that people do find him insightful, the majority of philosophers that do analyze his works are dramatically divergent of both his ideas and style, and don't really seem eager to step up to the plate to defend his views.

That's because a lot of people don't agree with his views. His views are important to confront, and his approach is very interesting, but a lot of people find his work a little bit icky. I'd say I'm more of a "fan" of Nietzsche than the average person, but even I think he failed to "solve" Nihilism as he seemingly set out to do.


As for reading it in German, good lord no. However, that shouldn't be any excuse for a lack of clarity of his intended meaning. Other translations from German to English don't seem to have the same problems as Nietzsche, and I can't honestly fathom that it would be the translator's fault in all cases for a lack of particularity.

In the interests of full disclosure, I don't speak German, and I'm honestly not seeing the lack of clarity in the English translations that you seem to. Did you read Kaufman? Because he's very readable and very transparent about how he works, without losing out on the artistic content in Nietzsche.

That said, my understanding (from what various fluent German-speakers have told me) is that in his native language Nietzsche writes like a poet. I can see why that might be hard to translate.

Yukitsu
2011-07-28, 09:18 AM
It's not a problem at all. Nietzsche was very interested in "metaphilosophy," or the examination of philosophy from an outside viewpoint. A great deal of what he says connects to the idea that "rationalist" thinking is not inherently better than "irrationalist" thinking, as both are essentially predicated on the same things (see On Truth and Lie In the Extra-Moral Sense).

As a rule, Nietzsche is interested in (although not wholly embracing of) intuition and intuitive philosophy. When he writes in aphorism, its because each aphorism is meant largely to express the whole of his internal canon in a specific way. (Remember, he's trying to construct an answer to nihilism, that philosophy that invalidates pretty much everything that comes before it with a wave of its hand. He needs something holistic for that.)

I'm mostly just going to point out the bolded portion here. This is in essence, my entire problem with Nietzsche, and why I was saying he makes linguistic sense, but not logical sense. I would accept that as reasonable and intelligible if he could have given a compelling argument as to why logic is somehow wrong or leads to dramatically incorrect conclusions, which I think is too strong a claim, or that irrational thought can lead to correct conclusions with as much reliability as reason, which while a weaker claim, I don't believe he has ever argued all that compellingly. This carries over to Heidegger, who was this only more so.

gkathellar
2011-07-28, 09:58 AM
I'm mostly just going to point out the bolded portion here. This is in essence, my entire problem with Nietzsche, and why I was saying he makes linguistic sense, but not logical sense. I would accept that as reasonable and intelligible if he could have given a compelling argument as to why logic is somehow wrong or leads to dramatically incorrect conclusions, which I think is too strong a claim, or that irrational thought can lead to correct conclusions with as much reliability as reason, which while a weaker claim, I don't believe he has ever argued all that compellingly. This carries over to Heidegger, who was this only more so.

He never says reason is "wrong" or "bad," or that irrationality is "good" or "correct" — he just deconstructs both in an attempt to get at what they really are. Again, Truth and Lie in the Extra-Moral Sense (which you can find in Walter Kaufmann's The Portable Nietzsche) outlines a pretty strong argument for this. The Birth of Tragedy, though he later considered it boorish and amateur, likewise talks a great deal about the rise and nature of "reason."

But the Gay Science and A Genealogy or Morals get at the heart of the matter when they discuss science and the modern fetishization of "Truth." As far as he's concerned, truth ultimately leads to nihilism, and nihilism is bad. Therefore: the need for a re-evaluation of values which can give us something to cling to in the coming night.

Telonius
2011-07-28, 10:01 AM
What a load of rubbish arguments. Next you'll be telling me that Carroll invented the word "snark," too.

:smalltongue:

Talya
2011-07-28, 10:15 AM
You know, these arguments about books and entertainment and reading, I have to answer with another question: what is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations? If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see? I say, begin at the beginning, and go on until you come to the end, then stop. But then I generally give myself very good advice, (though I very seldom follow it).

Curiouser, and curiouser...but the question is, who are you?

gkathellar
2011-07-28, 10:18 AM
Curiouser, and curiouser...but the question is, who are you?

Oh ... Oh god, it can't be true! I'm one of the tomatoes! (http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Roger_Smith.jpg)

Shadowknight12
2011-07-28, 10:43 AM
Curiouser, and curiouser...but the question is, who are you?

Why, I am me, of course. Who else would I be?

Cespenar
2011-07-28, 11:02 AM
Why, I am me, of course. Who else would I be?

Someone else, maybe? There are people who are someone else, you know.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-28, 11:10 AM
Someone else, maybe? There are people who are someone else, you know.

You can't be someone else. You can pretend to be someone else. You can pretend so well that you fool everyone, even yourself, but that doesn't make it any less pretending.

Cespenar
2011-07-28, 11:16 AM
You can't be someone else. You can pretend to be someone else. You can pretend so well that you fool everyone, even yourself, but that doesn't make it any less pretending.

Everyone is "someone else" to everyone other than themselves. :smallbiggrin:

Serpentine
2011-07-28, 11:18 AM
You can't be someone else. You can pretend to be someone else. You can pretend so well that you fool everyone, even yourself, but that doesn't make it any less pretending.People with various brain injuries and mental illnesses would disagree with you.
But more to the point: "Wrong sort of reader" indeed...

Shadowknight12
2011-07-28, 11:29 AM
People with various brain injuries and mental illnesses would disagree with you.
But more to the point: "Wrong sort of reader" indeed...

They still are themselves. They have just changed who they are.

Yes, wrong sort of reader. I got that. :smalltongue:

Another_Poet
2011-07-28, 11:30 AM
First off, this thread is awesome, especially SilverClaw Shift's comments.


Yup, that's how agreement works.

I want to high-five Worira for this response.


They are TOTALLY nonsensical. Wonderland & its sequel run on a combination of dream-logic and deliberate misinterpretations of figures of speech, logic, and math. It's like a Victorian XKCD.

Best way I've ever heard it described.


Oh goodie, I always wondered if I was missing out on something. I'm quite glad to realise I'm not. If I can't get anything useful out of it, reading it will be a waste of my time.

Shadowknight, there is actually something more to it than just nonsense. It has a coherent story on two levels: Alice's travels through Wonderland are actually about her coming of age (in fact, her decision to accepting her ability to grow and own her new size is the only thing that gives her control over this crazy fantasy world at the end and saves her), and simultaneously, Wonderland itself is a commentary on monarchy and the absurdity of basing a government on aristocracy.

Once you start looking at those scenes as a subversive political commentary piled on top of a girl who can't accept adolescence, it becomes a pretty edgy book. It's like crossing Labyrinth with Camus. Pretty compelling actually, if a little forced at times.

Cespenar
2011-07-28, 11:42 AM
And to themselves, too. Otherwise things like "image problems" and "identity issues" wouldn't be so common. :smallwink:

So you agree with my original argument? Splendid!

Shadowknight12
2011-07-28, 11:59 AM
So you agree with my original argument? Splendid!

I misread your post, I thought it said "seems" instead of "is." I'll have to retract my previous statement and insist on the use of words like "pretends," "seems" and "looks" rather than "is."


Shadowknight, there is actually something more to it than just nonsense. It has a coherent story on two levels: Alice's travels through Wonderland are actually about her coming of age (in fact, her decision to accepting her ability to grow and own her new size is the only thing that gives her control over this crazy fantasy world at the end and saves her), and simultaneously, Wonderland itself is a commentary on monarchy and the absurdity of basing a government on aristocracy.

Once you start looking at those scenes as a subversive political commentary piled on top of a girl who can't accept adolescence, it becomes a pretty edgy book. It's like crossing Labyrinth with Camus. Pretty compelling actually, if a little forced at times.

While I appreciate you taking the time to reply, I've grown a bit tired of defending my views over and over again. I believe I've already said everything I had to say and I've no interest in continuing this discussion any further.

Talya
2011-07-28, 12:20 PM
Why,

Because.


I am me,

Yes, but who are you?


of course.

You act as if it might not be disputed.


Who else would I be?

Who do you want to be?

Shadowknight12
2011-07-28, 12:27 PM
Because.

Okay.


Yes, but who are you?

I am me. The Law of Identity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_%3D_A) proves it so.


You act as if it might not be disputed.

Of course it might not be disputed. Only I can know myself. Nobody else has any grounds to dispute it.


Who do you want to be?

Me?

Talya
2011-07-28, 12:32 PM
I'm not entirely sure you've thought this through.

You claim to be you, today. But then who were you yesterday? You can't have been you, because you were a different person then. And tomorrow, will you be gone, when the you that you are now has become someone else?



Me?

The question mark makes it the wisest thing you may have said, yet.

*puffs away on a hookah*

Yukitsu
2011-07-28, 12:42 PM
He never says reason is "wrong" or "bad," or that irrationality is "good" or "correct" — he just deconstructs both in an attempt to get at what they really are. Again, Truth and Lie in the Extra-Moral Sense (which you can find in Walter Kaufmann's The Portable Nietzsche) outlines a pretty strong argument for this. The Birth of Tragedy, though he later considered it boorish and amateur, likewise talks a great deal about the rise and nature of "reason."

I really dislike stepping into metaphysics of any sort, as this is where I find most people tend to completely lose perspective on pretty much anything, but I do have a particular dislike for Nietzsche's epistomological arguments, as they seem rather defeatist. But going into his arguments on perspectivism, at the very least in the notion of truth being nonexistant, he seems to take the stance that aristotelian logic is impossible, whether intentionally or not.


But the Gay Science and A Genealogy or Morals get at the heart of the matter when they discuss science and the modern fetishization of "Truth." As far as he's concerned, truth ultimately leads to nihilism, and nihilism is bad. Therefore: the need for a re-evaluation of values which can give us something to cling to in the coming night.

Yes, I've read that argument and found it to be rather strange. The chain of logic leading from one point to the next always seemed completely irrational to me, and what I got from him, that truth should be discarded as impossible to attain and should also be discarded on principle, always seemed entirely needless to me, as I utterly fail to see why having our core beliefs utterly demolished and left with a void should be a bad thing, or why that would suddenly make the conclusion wrong.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-28, 12:43 PM
I'm not entirely sure you've thought this through.

You claim to be you, today. But then who were you yesterday? You can't have been you, because you were a different person then. And tomorrow, will you be gone, when the you that you are now has become someone else?

A person may change, but that doesn't mean that they cease to be what they are.


The question mark makes it the wisest thing you may have said, yet.

*puffs away on a hookah*

Don't give me that much credit, the question mark came from not fully understanding the question. :smallwink:

gkathellar
2011-07-28, 01:35 PM
I really dislike stepping into metaphysics of any sort, as this is where I find most people tend to completely lose perspective on pretty much anything, but I do have a particular dislike for Nietzsche's epistomological arguments, as they seem rather defeatist. But going into his arguments on perspectivism, at the very least in the notion of truth being nonexistant, he seems to take the stance that aristotelian logic is impossible, whether intentionally or not.

Oh, he never says it's impossible, or that it's useless. He's putting forward that it's not objectively any truer than any other form of thinking.


Yes, I've read that argument and found it to be rather strange. The chain of logic leading from one point to the next always seemed completely irrational to me, and what I got from him, that truth should be discarded as impossible to attain and should also be discarded on principle, always seemed entirely needless to me, as I utterly fail to see why having our core beliefs utterly demolished and left with a void should be a bad thing, or why that would suddenly make the conclusion wrong.

Well, cheerful nihilism would agree with you on that last point. I'm a little inclined to agree with you, as well. Nietzsche isn't a cheerful nihilist, but he does believe science/truth and the nihilism that results from embracing it is a moment of great opportunity — because once our present, death-seeking core beliefs and values come crashing down in the cold dark of reality, we'll have the opportunity to build new, life-affirming values.


They still are themselves. They have just changed who they are.

Not all the time if you have this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder) or suffer from this. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociation)

But what Talya seems to be barraging you with, smarmy though her process may be, is the semi-Buddhist notion that there is no such thing as the identity/soul/Atman/essential self: the mind's continuity of existence is an illusion, and every moment is essentially disconnected from every other moment. Blah blah blah music of the spheres blah blah blah spiritual wisdom blah blah blah impermanence blah blah blah. :smallbiggrin:

Talya
2011-07-28, 01:42 PM
Nihilism gets overused as a catch-all for a lack of belief in objective moral truth. This is wrong. People confuse Nihilism, Relativism, and Subjectivism. They all have something in common, yes: all three lack belief in an objective moral truth or value. This is where the similarities end though.

Nihilism believes that moral truth or value really doesn't exist.

Relativism believes that moral truth or value, while not objective, still exists in the form of social mores.

Subjectivism (where I personally am situated) believes that moral truth or value, while not objective, still exists as a personal thing for each individual.


Nietzsche was a moral relativist. He believed it important for society to cling to social mores, to values that it created for itself.


But what Talya seems to be barraging you with, smarmy though her process may be, is the semi-Buddhist notion that there is no such thing as the identity/soul/Atman/essential self: the mind's continuity of existence is an illusion, and every moment is essentially disconnected from every other moment. Blah blah blah music of the spheres blah blah blah spiritual wisdom blah blah blah impermanence blah blah blah. :smallbiggrin:

Actually I've barraging him with a plethora of Lewis Carroll quotes rearranged for pronoun-accuracy in the current situation (with a slight but nonexclusive emphasis on Blue Caterpillar - hence the 'smarminess') with the intent of making him argue with various characters in a pair of books he has not read.

Yukitsu
2011-07-28, 01:54 PM
Oh, he never says it's impossible, or that it's useless. He's putting forward that it's not objectively any truer than any other form of thinking.

That's fine as an intent, but the end result is that he can't actually support logic, since pretty much all of it is about preserving truth where you find it. And his idea of perspectivism extends beyond just the conclusion being no more or less true, but the premises as well. True or false values to premises are a fair shake important to aristotelian logic.


Well, cheerful nihilism would agree with you on that last point. I'm a little inclined to agree with you, as well. Nietzsche isn't a cheerful nihilist, but he does believe science/truth and the nihilism that results from embracing it is a moment of great opportunity — because once our present, death-seeking core beliefs and values come crashing down in the cold dark of reality, we'll have the opportunity to build new, life-affirming values.

He sometimes does. He's not always entirely consistent when he's talking about nihilism, and whether it's a good or bad thing. At any rate, I don't find it necessary to reject a methodology based almost solely on it potentially leading to nihilism.


But what Talya seems to be barraging you with, smarmy though her process may be, is the semi-Buddhist notion that there is no such thing as the identity/soul/Atman/essential self: the mind's continuity of existence is an illusion, and every moment is essentially disconnected from every other moment. Blah blah blah music of the spheres blah blah blah spiritual wisdom blah blah blah impermanence blah blah blah. :smallbiggrin:

There's also that and old boats as a logic problem, which I think is what she's actually referencing here, since IIRC that's what Lewis was discussing.


Relativism believes that moral truth or value, while not objective, still exists in the form of social mores.

Subjectivism (where I personally am situated) believes that moral truth or value, while not objective, still exists as a personal thing for each individual.


Nietzsche was a moral relativist. He believed it important for society to cling to social mores, to values that it created for itself.

I think his talks on the ubermensch and the will to power make him more of a subjectivist by those definitions, though he generally takes that everyone follows the social zeitgeist of the culture anyway.

gkathellar
2011-07-28, 02:01 PM
Nietzsche was a moral relativist. He believed it important for society to cling to social mores, to values that it created for itself.

He was a moral relativist who believed that our existing, priestly/ascetic morality is bad and that our newfangled obsession with science and rationality is going to bring about the destruction of those values through the realization of an uncaring universe. In the wake of this void, individuals of great personal strength will hopefully emerge to fight back the darkness with their new, life-affirming values.

So ... Kamina is the proto-overman.

That wasn't a joke.


He sometimes does. He's not always entirely consistent when he's talking about nihilism, and whether it's a good or bad thing. At any rate, I don't find it necessary to reject a methodology based almost solely on it potentially leading to nihilism.

His attitude towards nihilism is sort of like Christianity's relationship with the apocalypse. He doesn't like it, but until it happens on a cultural scale the messianic overman isn't going to show.


Actually I've barraging him with a plethora of Lewis Carroll quotes rearranged for pronoun-accuracy in the current situation (with a slight but nonexclusive emphasis on Blue Caterpillar - hence the 'smarminess') with the intent of making him argue with various characters in a pair of books he has not read.

Oh! I tend to read Zen subtext into anything Lewis Carroll related. Carry on.

Talya
2011-07-28, 02:09 PM
So ... Kamina is the proto-overman.

That wasn't a joke.



Whew, that's a relief, because without knowing who Kamina is, I had no chance of getting the joke. :smallbiggrin:

Earl William
2011-07-28, 02:11 PM
Don't give me that much credit, the question mark came from not fully understanding the question. :smallwink:

Ah, but true wisdom comes from knowing by means of not knowing.

Talya
2011-07-28, 02:13 PM
Only then will you see the true contractions of your life.

Don't talk to me about contractions until you've given birth.



Twice.

Edit: Or are you referring to grammatical contractions? Hmm. A contraction of "your life." I'm not sure there's a good one. "You'fe" would sound too much like "you've." "Y'life" is still two syllables, not worth the effort. "Your'fe" maybe? Yorf. Hmm. I don't think it will catch on.

SPoD
2011-07-28, 02:19 PM
Actually I've barraging him with a plethora of Lewis Carroll quotes rearranged for pronoun-accuracy in the current situation (with a slight but nonexclusive emphasis on Blue Caterpillar - hence the 'smarminess') with the intent of making him argue with various characters in a pair of books he has not read.

Which was brilliant, I might add. :smallsmile:

And sums up the benefit to reading the original that he is missing: If he had read the books, he would have known what you were doing and looked less the fool for arguing with nonsense.

All in all, it seems like Shadowknight is willing to accept that he has imperfect (or possibly wildly inaccurate) knowledge of certain subjects because he is afraid to judge them for himself and not come away with the "proper" reaction. He is more concerned with finding out what the majority view of a work is than in exploring his own reactions to it, and doesn't seem to understand that there are no wrong reactions to art--even not having a reaction at all tells you something about yourself. Possibly something unpleasant, but something nonetheless. That is the point of art.

Talya
2011-07-28, 02:24 PM
Which was brilliant, I might add. :smallsmile:


Thank you. :smallbiggrin:

Oh, and I take exception to your signature. Stories DO need to fit into neat boxes. I've moved enough times to know this.

Although getting an ebook reader might solve this problem...

SPoD
2011-07-28, 02:26 PM
Thank you. :smallbiggrin:

Oh, and I take exception to your signature. Stories DO need to fit into neat boxes. I've moved enough times to know this.

Although getting an ebook reader might solve this problem...

I will have you know that stories fit quite well into some very messy boxes indeed. GOOD DAY TO YOU.

Cespenar
2011-07-28, 02:28 PM
If anything, it was way too inefficient for Shadowknight to have defended his views so vehemently. If he truly valued efficiency, he wouldn't have involved in this argument altogether. :smalltongue:

gkathellar
2011-07-28, 02:29 PM
Whew, that's a relief, because without knowing who Kamina is, I had no chance of getting the joke. :smallbiggrin:

This guy. (http://www.cosplayisland.co.uk/files/costumes/602/6589/kaminaa.jpg) Although I'm willing to bet that Nietzsche imagined him wearing a shirt. And maybe with less katana? Eh.


Although getting an ebook reader might solve this problem...

That just lets you fit even more stories into the same boxes!

SPoD
2011-07-28, 02:32 PM
If anything, it was way too inefficient for Shadowknight to have defended his views so vehemently. If he truly valued efficiency, he wouldn't have involved in this argument altogether. :smalltongue:

Oh, no--by having this discussion, he has now learned what the majority view on why you should read the original work is. He can now safely parrot that back to people in the future in similar conversations so as to have the "right" reaction to the subject. So it's been enormously useful for him, I'm sure.

Cespenar
2011-07-28, 02:34 PM
Oh, no--by having this discussion, he has now learned what the majority view on why you should read the original work is. He can now safely parrot that back to people in the future in similar conversations so as to have the "right" reaction to the subject. So it's been enormously useful for him, I'm sure.

But he could have read summaries of this thread instead of actually taking part in it. :smalltongue:

Talya
2011-07-28, 02:35 PM
there are no wrong reactions to art--even not having a reaction at all tells you something about yourself. Possibly something unpleasant, but something nonetheless. That is the point of art.

I've always found this idea very appealling at a high level, by the way, but it breaks down a bit when you come to the nitty-gritty details.

What does my reaction to art tell me about myself? I'm never able to figure that out. I know I prefer happy endings. I know majestic music in a movie or TV show can bring tears to my eyes. I know I really dislike Alan Moore's comics, rap music, and most comedy movies and TV sitcoms. I know I really love piano music, White Collar (TV show), paintings set in the rain, and everything by Joss Whedon (despite my love of happy endings). None of that tells me anything about who I am. I believe it should, but damned if I can figure it out.

SPoD
2011-07-28, 02:43 PM
I've always found this idea very appealling at a high level, by the way, but it breaks down a bit when you come to the nitty-gritty details.

What does my reaction to art tell me about myself? I'm never able to figure that out. I know I prefer happy endings. I know majestic music in a movie or TV show can bring tears to my eyes. I know I really dislike Alan Moore's comics, rap music, and most comedy movies and TV sitcoms. I know I really love piano music, White Collar (TV show), paintings set in the rain, and everything by Joss Whedon (despite my love of happy endings). None of that tells me anything about who I am. I believe it should, but damned if I can figure it out.

"Like" or "dislike" is not really an emotional reaction, though. It's a conclusion based on individual reactions you had while experiencing it. It made you feel X, Y, and Z, and you like/dislike feeling that way, therefore you liked/disliked it. It also includes issues of execution, technique, and context that are less emotional and more intellectual: I often dislike new Joss Whedon stuff because I feel like he hits the same notes over and over, but should that influence my feelings on one individual piece taken in a vacuum? No, but it often does.

In order to learn something about yourself, you need to figure out what your actual emotional reactions are to those things, and then figure out why.

EDIT: It is also much harder to determine emotional reactions to something that is purely entertainment without any intent on the part of the creators to evoke any feelings beyond, "I liked this enough to watch again, and maybe buy a product," as 99% of all media created these days is.

Talya
2011-07-28, 02:44 PM
In order to learn something about yourself, you need to figure out what your actual emotional reactions are to those things, and then figure out why.

Yeah, I get that. It's much easier said than done, however.

Cespenar
2011-07-28, 02:44 PM
I know I really dislike Alan Moore's comics

Wait, wait, wait. What?

Okay, I'mma derail this thread into an Alan Moore argument now. :smalltongue:

SPoD
2011-07-28, 02:50 PM
Yeah, I get that. It's much easier said than done, however.

True. Like I edited in above, though, it's much easier to start with things that were created with artistic expression in mind rather than solely entertainment/profit, which cuts out a lot of current stuff.

gkathellar
2011-07-28, 02:52 PM
Wait, wait, wait. What?

Okay, I'mma derail this thread into an Alan Moore argument now. :smalltongue:

Come on, derailing it for something that someone mentioned? I think we're better than that. I think we need to derail this thread with something totally unrelated to it or its content.

Like eggs. Eggs with sauerkraut. Mmmm.

Talya
2011-07-28, 02:53 PM
Wait, wait, wait. What?

Okay, I'mma derail this thread into an Alan Moore argument now. :smalltongue:
It's not a critique of his writing style, but my personal tastes.

Watchmen: I hated the characters. I hated the "moral of the story." I hated that the one person I could respect more than any of the other characters was the person I hated most. I hated the bland acceptance of utilitarian ethics.

The Killing Joke: What he did to Batgirl was unacceptable. I could get over it if they'd have healed Barbara's spine by now, but no, she's still Oracle.

V for Vendetta: Let me preface this by saying that much to my surprise, I really loved the film. In fact, it's one of my all time favorite movies. However, the comic, much like Watchmen, had no real heroes. Like The Watchmen, it's not a matter of seeing the world in grey rather than black and white, it's seeing the entire world as black as charcoal. There's a dark nihilism at work here where there are only bad guys, and no heroes.
See, at heart, I'm a romantic, and always will be. Alan Moore likes taking romanticism and pissing on it.

SPoD
2011-07-28, 02:57 PM
See, at heart, I'm a romantic, and always will be. Alan Moore likes taking romanticism and pissing on it.

And lo! Your emotional reaction to Alan Moore's work tells you (and us) something about yourself, even as it is radically different from someone else's emotional reaction. No one is right or wrong. The system works! :smallwink:

EDIT: Also, you may consider reading Promethea, which I found to be Moore's most optimistic work ever despite featuring the End of the World.

gkathellar
2011-07-28, 03:01 PM
The Killing Joke: What he did to Batgirl was unacceptable. I could get over it if they'd have healed Barbara's spine by now, but no, she's still Oracle.

But if she wasn't Oracle, we could never have had Cassandra Cain as Batgirl!


See, at heart, I'm a romantic, and always will be. Alan Moore likes taking romanticism and pissing on it.

You should check out Tom Strong and Promethea, then. They're basically Alan Moore telling cynicism "I hate you, you're stupid."

Talya
2011-07-28, 03:08 PM
Promethea it is! (Quick synopsis of it looks like a story I might like.)

Edit: Of course, if I end up loving this, it will have to change my "I hate Alan Moore" to something more accurate, like, "I hate how people always talk about Alan Moore's worst drek, and ignore Promethea."

Cespenar
2011-07-28, 03:12 PM
Ha! A point for derailment!

Shadowknight12
2011-07-28, 05:11 PM
Not all the time if you have this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder) or suffer from this. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociation)

But what Talya seems to be barraging you with, smarmy though her process may be, is the semi-Buddhist notion that there is no such thing as the identity/soul/Atman/essential self: the mind's continuity of existence is an illusion, and every moment is essentially disconnected from every other moment. Blah blah blah music of the spheres blah blah blah spiritual wisdom blah blah blah impermanence blah blah blah. :smallbiggrin:

The validity of such states is highly questioned, precisely because it's impossible to tell if the brain is not merely fooling itself.

Yeah, I've known all along. I was wondering how far she'd take it.


Actually I've barraging him with a plethora of Lewis Carroll quotes rearranged for pronoun-accuracy in the current situation (with a slight but nonexclusive emphasis on Blue Caterpillar - hence the 'smarminess') with the intent of making him argue with various characters in a pair of books he has not read.

And I was aware of that too. It's quite hard to avoid Alice in Wonderland references these days, so identifying the character was quite easy. Plus, I played the Mad Hatter in a school play.


Ah, but true wisdom comes from knowing by means of not knowing.

Wisdom is a blurry thing. I disagree, though.


Which was brilliant, I might add. :smallsmile:

And sums up the benefit to reading the original that he is missing: If he had read the books, he would have known what you were doing and looked less the fool for arguing with nonsense.

Yes, yes, quite quite.


All in all, it seems like Shadowknight is willing to accept that he has imperfect (or possibly wildly inaccurate) knowledge of certain subjects because he is afraid to judge them for himself and not come away with the "proper" reaction. He is more concerned with finding out what the majority view of a work is than in exploring his own reactions to it, and doesn't seem to understand that there are no wrong reactions to art--even not having a reaction at all tells you something about yourself. Possibly something unpleasant, but something nonetheless. That is the point of art.

Nnnno, that's not quite it. I'm not "afraid" to judge them by myself. I consider that a waste of time when it is more convenient for me to appropriate someone else's opinion as my own and use that when it is required. I am aware that there are no "wrong" reactions to art. I'm not interested in the "proper" reaction (no such thing exists). I'm interested in the most useful reaction(s).


If anything, it was way too inefficient for Shadowknight to have defended his views so vehemently. If he truly valued efficiency, he wouldn't have involved in this argument altogether. :smalltongue:

You forget that one of the things I find useful is the development of a skill. Why join a debate club when you have the internet?


Oh, no--by having this discussion, he has now learned what the majority view on why you should read the original work is. He can now safely parrot that back to people in the future in similar conversations so as to have the "right" reaction to the subject. So it's been enormously useful for him, I'm sure.

And that, too.

Cespenar
2011-07-28, 05:16 PM
You forget that one of the things I find useful is the development of a skill. Why join a debate club when you have the internet?


I don't know. Why indeed?

Anyway, I seem to have met my quota of pointless goofiness for the day. Off I go!

Yukitsu
2011-07-28, 06:00 PM
You forget that one of the things I find useful is the development of a skill. Why join a debate club when you have the internet?

Because people in debate clubs don't misuse the word "fallacy" and know how to otherwise shoot down anyone trying to use Schopenhauer's rhetorical methods. What's even better, is that instead of a mod who enforces civility, you get arbiters who will take bad arguments and accusations and ding you points.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-28, 06:20 PM
Because people in debate clubs don't misuse the word "fallacy" and know how to otherwise shoot down anyone trying to use Schopenhauer's rhetorical methods. What's even better, is that instead of a mod who enforces civility, you get arbiters who will take bad arguments and accusations and ding you points.

That's 100% true.

Now guess which of those "trainings" will be more useful in day-to-day life. :smallamused:

Yukitsu
2011-07-28, 06:35 PM
That's 100% true.

Now guess which of those "trainings" will be more useful in day-to-day life. :smallamused:

Neither. Acting like real life is the internet will get you banned from life, and acting like life is a debate will get you into politics, which is a fate worse than death.

Shadowknight12
2011-07-28, 06:42 PM
Neither. Acting like real life is the internet will get you banned from life, and acting like life is a debate will get you into politics, which is a fate worse than death.

I assure you that I am not quite that literal.

Can't disagree on the second part.

Rockphed
2011-07-28, 07:36 PM
Yes, but who are you?

I am I Don Quixote, the Lord of La Mancha. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEnDOXmyU-o)



See, at heart, I'm a romantic, and always will be. Alan Moore likes taking romanticism and pissing on it.

There is nothing now, nor ever will be anything wrong with being a romantic. Without romantics, we would never have thought of doing anything more than tilling our dirt farms until the cows came home.

magic9mushroom
2011-07-31, 04:56 AM
Yes. You're right.

I'm not sure how anyone who's read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland could think Jabberwocky was in it...

Call me a philistine, but having read both, they aren't particularly distinguishable to me (well, apart from one being about playing cards and the other being about chess).

askandarion
2011-08-17, 03:03 PM
So Carroll, Nietzsche, and Moore walk into a bar...

Morghen
2011-08-17, 04:44 PM
I'm here from the past.

I've only read the first page of this thread, and I'm COMPLETELY stumped as to what pages 2-6 could possibly contain.

I'm what they call "breathless with anticipation."

Irreverent Fool
2011-08-18, 01:06 AM
I'm here from the past.

I've only read the first page of this thread, and I'm COMPLETELY stumped as to what pages 2-6 could possibly contain.

I'm what they call "breathless with anticipation."

It is a technical discussion of why the vorpal weapon enchantment does not actually make a magic weapon go "snicker-snack".

Eldan
2011-08-18, 04:52 AM
That's it. I'm creating a magical vorpal sword that says Snicker-Snack on a critical.

Spiryt
2011-08-18, 05:00 AM
That's it. I'm sick of all this "Upon a roll of natural 20bull****" that's going on in the d20 system right now. Vorpal falchions deserve much better....

Yuki Akuma
2011-08-18, 07:40 AM
I would just like to say that the past page or two have made me love Talya.

That is all.

Edit: Or maybe I have more to say.


Call me a philistine, but having read both, they aren't particularly distinguishable to me (well, apart from one being about playing cards and the other being about chess).

Philistine!

They're both about mathematics, you fool!

(I'm only partially joking.)

magic9mushroom
2011-08-18, 08:39 PM
Philistine!

They're both about mathematics, you fool!

(I'm only partially joking.)

Heh. There's that, too.

Still, I'm not seeing the difference. They're both well-written, incredibly surreal and nonsensical tales about a girl who goes places where logic doesn't work (or rather, logic works, but the premises are bizarre), with some themes of cards, chess, and mathematics.

Volthawk
2011-08-19, 08:21 PM
This is a very strange thread.

Yukitsu
2011-08-20, 03:54 PM
This is a very strange thread.

That's OK, they were very strange books.

Eric Tolle
2011-08-21, 06:13 PM
This is a very strange thread.
Don't you mean:
"This is an incredibly surreal and nonsensical thread about posters who go places where logic doesn't work (or rather, logic works, but the premises are bizarre), with some themes of cards, chess, and philosophy."

Yukitsu
2011-08-21, 08:38 PM
It just had to be the smiling cat that mentioned this.

jasonguppy
2011-10-07, 10:59 AM
Actuallu, all words in the jabberwocky poem are true words.

Yuki Akuma
2011-10-07, 01:06 PM
Actuallu, all words in the jabberwocky poem are true words.

...That depends on how you define 'word'.

They have no meanings, and are just nonsense, but yes, they are actually words.

But most of them never appeared before that poem.

C'nor
2011-10-07, 03:36 PM
...That depends on how you define 'word'.

They have no meanings, and are just nonsense, but yes, they are actually words.

But most of them never appeared before that poem.

Ah, but some of them do have meanings. I believe that the caterpillar said that 'gimble', for example, was to make holes, like a gimlet, though I might be wrong on that.

@V: That would be Jasonguppy who necroposted, so far as I can tell.

Talya
2011-10-07, 03:45 PM
Thank you whoever necroposted in this so I can realize I had an admirer!


I would just like to say that the past page or two have made me love Talya.

That is all.


Woohoo!

Telonius
2011-10-07, 03:51 PM
Heh. There's that, too.

Still, I'm not seeing the difference. They're both well-written, incredibly surreal and nonsensical tales about a girl who goes places where logic doesn't work (or rather, logic works, but the premises are bizarre), with some themes of cards, chess, and mathematics.

...so she goes to Magic: the Gathering conventions?

(Kidding, kidding!)