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Q: What are you writing?

A: A novel.

Q: What’s the story?

A: That’s no story. It’s just people, gestures, moments, bits of raptures, fleeting emotions…In short, the greatest story ever told.

Q: Are you in the story?

A: I don’t think so… But then, I’m kind of reading it, and then writing it.

(Waking Life, Richard Linklater, 2001)

1. Two-slit experiment (*):

2. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

(*)  The picture and the explanation of the two-slit experiment taken from A brief history of time by Stephen W. Hawking:

‘If electrons are sent through the slits one at a time, one would expect each to pass through one slit or the other, and so behave just if the slit it passed through were the only one there –giving  a uniform distribution on the screen. In reality, however, even when the electrons are sent one at a time, the fringe still appear. Each electron, therefore, must be passing though both slits at the same time!

(…)

One way of visualizing the wave/particle duality is the so-called sum over histories introduced by the American scientist Richard Feynman. In this approach the particle is not supposed to have a single history or path in space-time, as it would in a classical, nonquantum theory. Instead it is supposed to go from A to B by every possible path.’ (emphasis added)

…each of the radical theories about language and thought refutes one of the others in a game of rock-paper-scissors. Differences among languages, the point of pride for Linguistic Determinism, is a headache for Extreme Nativism, which assumes that concepts are innate, hence universal. The precision of word senses, which Extreme Nativism uses to discredit definitions, cast doubt on Radical Pragmatics, which assumes that one’s knowledge of a word is highly malleable. And polysemy, which motivates Radical Pragmatics, spells trouble for Linguistic Determinism, because it shows that thoughts must be much finer-grained than words.

The theory of conceptual semantics, which proposes that word senses are mentally represented as expressions in a richer and more abstract language of thought, stands at the center of this circle, compatible with all of the complications. Word meanings can vary across languages because children assemble and fine-tune them from more elementary concepts. They can be precise because the concepts zero in on some aspects of reality and slough off the rest. And they can support our reasoning because they represent lawful aspects of reality –space, time, causality, objects, intentions, and logic– rather than the system of noises that developed in a community to allow them to communicate. Conceptual semantics fits, too, with our commonsense notion that words are not the same as thoughts, and indeed, that much of human wisdom consists of not mistaking one for the other. “Words are wise men’s counters,” wrote Hobbes; “they do but reckon by them; but they are the money of fools.” Centuries later, Siegfried Sassoon invoked a similar association when he wrote:

Words are fools

Who follow blindly, once they get a lead.

But thoughts are kingfishers that haunt the pools

Of quiet; seldom-seen..

(Steven Pinker, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, 2007)

Mind-blowing (*)

From time to time anyone is bound to read a review about a mind-blowing movie (most of the time, a pretentious, self-indulgent movie). I don’t know about you, but my reaction is something like this: really? This you call a mind-blowing experience?

Mind-blowing is to stand on the fucking Moon and watch the Earthrise.

Mind-blowing is to see educated people believing in an anthropomorphic God who is kind enough to listen to John Doe’s prayer to win the lottery, but was unmoved when more than 50 MILLION people died from Spanish flu. Imagine that: after a world war which claimed the lives of 8 million soldiers another 50 million people died of fucking flu. (And please notice that I’m kind enough not to mention Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Darfur, AIDS, famine etc.)

Mind-blowing is how from a single fertilized egg grows a mind-blowing complex human being.

Mind-blowing is how intelligent people embrace all the bullshit coming from the luminaries of postmodernism (all the attempts to deconstruct science without actually knowing any; the keyword which should put anyone on defense is DECONSTRUCTING).

Mind-blowing is the idea that the universe might be completely self-contained, with no boundaries.

Mind-blowing is a world where a football player is more famous than a scientist( or a writer).

Mind-blowing is to watch the starry sky while laying on the grass, somewhere outside the big cities.

Mind-blowing is to have 180 channels full of shit on TV.

Infinity is mind-blowing.

————————————————————–

(*) Initially posted last January.

 

My favourite directors

via turambar

‘OK. It’s high time to have this one too. Let’s keep the format proposed by ScreaminJay – 10 nominations, from 1 to 10, no tie-ins. I also propose you to write a short justification: why do you keep that director is such a high esteem? If you feel like, pls also give some other name that didn’t quite make your list, but that are close’.

1. Woody Allen — for being my best cinematic friend;
2. The Coen Brothers — fun loving geniuses;
3. Paul Thomas Anderson — for putting back the a in auteur;
4. Robert Altman — for nobody dared to have so many characters in a single frame;
5. Martin Scorsese — the american film director;
6. Orson Welles — for he is Orson Welles – the magician;
7. Ingmar Bergman — for all the whispers that I’ve heard and for all the cries that I’ve cried;
8. Federico Fellini –for choosing to become an adjective instead of an engineer;
9. Quentin Tarantino –for anyone is allowed one weakness;
10. Jean-Luc Godard (pre-1970) – for Anna Karina, and for rejuvenating the cinema.

-Stanley Kubrick
-Kar Wai Wong
-Corneliu Porumboiu
-Steven Spielberg
-Akira Kurosawa
-Francois Truffaut

-Alfred Hitchcock

-Pedro Almodovar
-Lucian Pintilie (for the best romanian movie ever)
and many more…

Sunday Games