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Thursday, December 8, 2016

There.

Some enigmas defy analysis. They occur repeatedly and settle. We say, "There."  Here is one I discovered many years ago. It consumes seven seconds of video and the only comment I make (if you have the sound on) when it occurs is, "There."  Such is the mind in action. Norma kindly photoed a clip at our kitchen table:
(Link to video clip)


It consists of two coins, both held in the right hand. When turned over, one coin travels under the left hand while the other stays put. This is fundamental mechanical physics involving fictitious forces which, if performed in front of the right government agencies, will attract lucrative research grants. However, we must here ask what precisely we are looking for.

Examination of enigmas is also a search for truth. Thomas Paine offered this rare, sober observation of its character: "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." The conclusion seems inescapable, especially when we seek truth in the mirror. I have reached an age at which I look in the mirror and say, "Well, whatever", then must admit that's what I've always said  --even since childhood.  This week, Norma took a photo of what I look like in the mirror (I wear a hat on windy days):
So, in our examination of enigmatic truth, we must defer to opinion, and the better mind of Herbert Spencer who thought opinions were ultimately determined by feelings, not intellect. Personally, I don't believe those two aspects of mind can be so far apart as to avoid each others influence, but will couch my doubt in a question. Which mental gesture best indicates we are in the presence of truth, one which causes us to say "There" or another causing us to say 'Well whatever"?


33 comments:

  1. 'There' demands I believe and that never has nor ever will be me. Aging has brought me to more acceptance and I have become a 'Well Whatever' , however, there is a silent 'but' following that. My passions have become more mellow now, but my fire is not completely out.

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    1. Of course your "fire is not...out"--nowhere near. I have noted the friendly warmth of your online presences has never diminished.

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  2. It makes a great party trick. It made me say, "Well, Hell". Not sure what THAT means.

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    1. Delores, you've nailed it. "There" and "Well, whatever" compose in combination the comma in "Well, Hell". This exposes a neglected region of philosophical punctuation that warrants further attention.

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  3. The answer, of course, is "yes."

    That is a neat trick with the quarters! And I think I will have to adopt your carefree attitude toward the person I see in my mirror every morning. And maybe also buy a hat.

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    1. O Jenny, "Yes" is certainly the answer --according to Elizabeth von Arnim's 1922 novel, but I prefer the film "Enchanted April". Coin trick depends on placing the coins on fingers that correspond with the axis or motion of the arm's radius or ulna. You may wear a hat while experimenting.

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    2. p.s.: As to the "yes" you mention, I should also include the elder Mr. Emerson's mention of the "Eternal Yes" in the 1985 Merchant-Ivory film of E.M. Forster's novel, "A Room With A View". Excuse me for not citing it earlier.

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    3. I always learn something(s) when I come here, Geo.! I have discovered that I can listen to the audiobook of "A Room With A View" for free at Librovox. I'm looking forward to it.

      As it happens, I was just quoting my husband, who, whenever he is given a choice where he has no strong feelings one way or the other, always answers "yes" ... I think it started as a joke; now he does it to see the smoke come out of my ears :)

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    4. should be Librivox, in case anyone is googling it :)

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  4. Wow. That is a philosophical question. I have been pondering and have not yet decided on my answer. Perhaps it depends upon the circumstance. But I know one thing. In Norma's picture you never looked lovelier.

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    1. Kind Emma, I chose the Normaphoto of a dandelion over a personal portrait because dandelions are lovelier. Sometimes, even I need to feel pretty.

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  5. Aren't you the clever boots.

    As to the presence or absense of truth/realitly wasn't it Atty Gen Mitchell or his wife Martha that said "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it."

    cheers
    Mike

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    1. Mike, You got me thinking back on Martha Mitchell and what a brave, conspicuous figure she was --full of opinions and not afraid to shout. I also got a kick out of her and was sorry she left us so early. There are questions I have about the Nixon administration that may never be resolved.

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    2. Geo, I damn near spilled my decent cab on this one. Questions about he Nixon adminstration. I fully expect if some questions about some things were known, bombing of Cambodia, Laos, involement of the CIA with full knowledge of the White House of Opium and Herion trade with Burma and the US, it would question the legitimacy of the US government.
      And it just doesn't stop there, does it. Go back to John Foster Dulles, the support, installation and protection of tyrants in South and Central America in the 50's and 60's.
      Martha may have been 'brave' as you say. I'd use 'crazy' and nuts in her belief that her husband and his boss really controlled the United States.

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    3. I remember Martha Mitchell voicing a number of disturbing concerns about White House corruption, in response to which the administration assured the public she was being cared for etc. More "whatever" than "well, there". And that was that until journalistic push and enterprise --history-- revealed that someone might be delusional and right at once. p.s.: Mondavi's been producing an excellent cab out of Woodbridge Winery in Lodi for a few years --serviceable table wine at a reasonable price (spills do not ruin my budget), my favorite in front of me right now in fact.

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  6. A phrase I've always enjoyed, but can't recall ever using, though I'd like too, is
    "...there, you have it." Too definitive perhaps. All of those years of journalism conditioned me to leave open the slightest crack to yet another possibility.

    "Whatever" is versatile. It can a dismissive way to end a debate, or it can be a California style way of not answering a taxing question, like "where would you like to eat, Italian or Basque?" or "would you like a cab or a zin?" etc.

    Courage spooled up now, I leave you with, so, there.

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    1. Dear Tom, "there you have it" was a favorite expression of my mother. She would conclude a proclamation, lesson (she was a school teacher), explanation or clever joke with it. It has always suggested philosophical quiddity to me --the "whatness" of a thing. Sort of like our Uncle Walter winding up with "...and that's the way it is."

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  7. Ha, Geo., you made me watch the video at least seven times - but the only outcome was that I thought: "Lovely hands!" but I could not work out how you did it.
    In Germany a lot of cool young people nowadays say dégagé: "Schau'n wir mal" - meaning: Let's wait what the future will bring.
    I too believe that feeling and intellect influence each other. AND feelings influence hair - otherwise we would never have BHD - bad hair days. Though some men would pay a lot to be able to say "There" - because it isn't, the hair I mean. So: better a bad hair day than no hair at all! There! And: better to look into the mirror and think 'There!'
    Oh - think my thoughts are drifting away - like the seeds of a dandelion... "I'm just sitting on a fence", as Mick sang. Schau'n wir mal.
    Toodlepip!

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    1. Dear Brigitta, thank you. My hands are useful but unlovely, but thanks. I have theory about how the coin trick works, involving the bone function and structure of the forearm --ring finger turns in place in line with the wrist while index finger describes an arc capable of throwing a coin. Or it is simply magic --I'm not sure. With study, I'm sure the solution will appear --Schau'n wir mal.

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  8. I prefer the noncommittal, "hmmm. Interesting." It buys me thinking time. Believe me, I need it.

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    1. We all need thinking time, Chicken. Descartes thought so: We think, therefore we am.

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  9. I always have been fascinated by these kinds of tricks and how they are so masterfully done...

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    1. Kind Keith, thanks. I too have enjoyed slight-of-hand for many years, and would love to master the art --but even the basics take me several tries.

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  10. What clever hands you have. Or maybe that should be "happy hands."

    My line is midway between "There!" and "Well whatever." It's "ta-DA!" It fits just about every situation, and helps instill enthusiasm where it might otherwise be lacking. I've even got Smarticus saying it now. :)

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    1. Dear Susan, "ta-DA!" is good. It does indeed furnish an enthusiasm my usual expressions sadly lack. I get too serious over life and coin tricks. Is it too early for a NewYear resolution?

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  11. Ha...I have watched your video over and over again...but I STILL can't see how you do that! I guess my mind is just too slow!! lol
    "Yes, whatever" I say...my relationship with my mirror was over years ago...and now I've become quite philosophical...;)

    I love Norma's photo...very fetching!!! :))

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    1. Ygraine, I'm not sure how the coin trick works either, even though I've done it, and variations of it, for many years. Have relayed your compliment to Norma --much appreciated!

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  12. My grandchildren mainly go with 'Whaaaaaat?!' Combined with various eyebrows this covers from absolute disbelief through to ohmygod MAGIC. I'm always at ohmygod MAGIC, so I say 'Yay!' And sometimes burst into dancing. Happy Yuletides :-) xx

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    1. Lisa, if we consider our exploitation of physical principles in sleight of hand, we must include ourselves. How did we materialize to amaze children? MAGIC! They know this. Happy Yuletide to you too!

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  13. I love slight of hand tricks, and even though I know they're tricks, I always feel the shiver of magic! I'll bet your grandson would pay you with big pebbles after seeing that a couple of time.

    I look in the mirror and exclaim, "Who the hell is that?" She looks remarkably like my mother in her later years!!! I haven' reached the point where I can say, "Well, whatever," but I did grow my hair long to make the similarity less apparent.

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    1. Thanks, Louise. Grandkids will figure the trick out by and by and explain to me how I do it. I still don't know.

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