Volume 0, Issue 0

The Sieve

In Discussion on 2016/06/15 at 8:39 am

Sieve_of_Eratosthenes_animationImagine a language where there is no need for a word for “real” or “fact” because there are already very clear terms for such things as…

  • conjecture for the sake of exploration
  • conjecture for the sake of entertainment
  • conjecture one really hopes is false
  • conjecture one really hopes is true
  • angry, unfounded accusations one would like to be true so one can feel justified in being angry because one thinks feeling angry without justification is shameful and the purview of toddlers
  • something deep-sounding and vaguely poetic that one asserts because one whimsically confuses beauty with truth
  • something deep-sounding and vaguely poetic that one asserts because one stoically confuses pessimism with prophecy
  • something one is worried about that one actually hopes is not true that one asserts as a provocation in lieu of actually asking the hearer to make the speaker feel better
  • an outright lie to deflect blame from oneself

The Book of Dead Names

In Discussion on 2015/06/27 at 4:21 pm
The Cranium. Leonardo Da Vinci, April 2, 1498

The Cranium. Leonardo Da Vinci, April 2, 1498

Welcome back to high school. In this nightmare, it’s the ninth grade again. You’ve made it through the lunch line, maybe bought some milk to go with the sandwich you brought from home to save you from having to face green beans that were harvested when Nixon was president, imprisoned since then in a can large enough to have contained an adult human’s head, decanted along with nine other identical cans into a huge steel vat, and boiled for six hours or until spreadable.

Now it’s time to choose a table. For those of you who need it, here’s a hint. This is a metaphor for being born.

You see the cool kids’ table and know better than to try. Something tells you that you’d need an invitation, and you’re right. You watch and you listen, and you one of them declare a petitioner a nerd and wave her off in the direction of the Nerd Section. So now you try to work out the map and the rules.

Symptom of Illness at a Cultural Level

In Discussion on 2014/12/05 at 4:24 pm
DSM-5 and DSM-IV-TR by F.RdeC, Wikimedia Commons, CC-A-SA 3.0

French edition of DSM-IV-TR and English edition of DSM-V by F.RdeC, Wikimedia Commons, CC-A-SA 3.0

Delusions are a bit tricky.

Be aware that I’m talking clinically about a¬†symptom of a number of scary mental illnesses — the symptom that signals a disconnect from proper interaction with the real world. A symptom, but not an illness in and of itself.

In situations like this I adhere to a pretty strict definition of illness, of pathology. Unless the phenomenon interferes with an acceptable level of¬†function of your body and/or interferes with your ability to earn a living (or to complete your coursework, if you are a student) and/or degrades your relationships with coworkers or classmates or peers or friends or relatives, it is not an illness. Short of that, it’s just a quirk or a trait.