“A picture may sometimes be worth a thousand words, but a thousand pictures cannot represent some of the things we can represent using words and sentences.”
— Tim Crane, The Puzzle of Representation
“For in fact what is man in nature? A Nothing in comparison with the Infinite, an All in comparison with the Nothing, a mean between nothing and everything. Since he is infinitely removed from comprehending the extremes, the end of things and their beginning are hopelessly hidden from him in an impenetrable secret, he is equally incapable of seeing the Nothing from which he was made, and the Infinite in which he is swallowed up.”
— Pascal in Man's Disproportion, the 72nd fragment in his Pensées.
Does a definition with a disjunction (i.e. “something is an X if it fulfills either A or B”) lose its defining power? It somehow seems to make the definition weaker, though not by way of any weakness in the logic.
I think it’s because this would make the imaginary “essence” of a thing not one universal single thing, but a logical connective of multiple nonessential things. That is to say, A and B individually are sufficient but not necessary conditions. The ability to embody at least one of the two is the necessary and sufficient condition.
For a while I was thinking of putting some photos of a pet on my website, but now I’m thinking otherwise.
I was persuaded through conversation with a friend that we ought not to expose the most intimate parts of our lives with the world at large. To paraphrase her: when we translate our personal connections and experiences into a form that is intelligible to others, something seems to be lost — we are impersonalizing them, robbing ourselves of the thing that made them ours.
I will still “overshare” on my future website as I do here, but only in the sense of sharing my ideas, opinions, and projects. These things are distinctive in that their significance isn’t (purely) idiosyncratic.
Maybe “idiosyncratic” isn’t the precise enough though, because I can imagine cases where I have an interest that no one else has, but it might still be worth sharing. By idiosyncratic I’m really thinking about the type of mundane experience or artifact that most humans have, which as a result would only be important to my mind or that of a creepy internet stalker. And purely is also very important, because I could imagine contexts where creativity in the presentation or insights about something mundane would make it worth sharing.
Does “don’t let anyone dictate who you are” have to be synonymous with “be yourself”?
I’d like to just “be”, independent of anyone’s oversight, least of all my own.
“If the book appears to be only a paper machine, produced at [its] own convenience by other machines, only machines will want to read it.”
— Kinross, The Elements of Typographic Style, 143