22 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2022
    1. When I started working on the history of linguistics — which had been totally forgotten; nobody knew about it — I discovered all sorts of things. One of the things I came across was Wilhelm von Humboldt’s very interesting work. One part of it that has since become famous is his statement that language “makes infinite use of finite means.” It’s often thought that we have answered that question with Turing computability and generative grammar, but we haven’t. He was talking about infinite use, not the generative capacity. Yes, we can understand the generation of the expressions that we use, but we don’t understand how we use them. Why do we decide to say this and not something else? In our normal interactions, why do we convey the inner workings of our minds to others in a particular way? Nobody understands that. So, the infinite use of language remains a mystery, as it always has. Humboldt’s aphorism is constantly quoted, but the depth of the problem it formulates is not always recognized.

      !- example : permanent mystery - language - Willhelm von Humboldt phrase "infinite use" - has never been solved - Why do decide to say one thing among infinitely many others?

    2. The miracle that so amazed Galileo and Arnauld — and still amazes me, I can’t understand it — is how can we, with a few symbols, convey to others the inner workings of our mind? That’s something to really be surprised about, and puzzled by. And we have some grasp of it, but not a lot.

      !- example : permanent mystery - language! This is what constantly amazes me!

    3. What’s my feeling of red? You can describe what the sensory organs are doing, what’s going on in the brain, but it doesn’t capture the essence of seeing something red. Will we ever capture it? Maybe not. It’s just something that’s beyond our cognitive capacities. But that shouldn’t really surprise us; we are organic creatures. It’s a possibility.

      !- example : permanent mystery - the qualia of the color red

    4. David Hume, a great philosopher, in his “History of England” — he wrote a huge history of England — there’s a chapter devoted to Isaac Newton, a full chapter. He describes Newton as, you know, the greatest mind that ever existed, and so on and so forth. He said Newton’s great achievement was to draw the veil away from some of the mysteries of nature — namely, his theory of universal gravitation and so on — but to leave other mysteries hidden in ways we will never understand. Referring to: What’s the world like? We’ll never understand it. He left that as a permanent mystery. Well, as far as we know, he was right.

      !- example : permanent mystery - David Hume and Newton example

    5. Descartes, and others, when they were considering that mind is separate from body — notice that that theory fell apart because the theory of body was wrong; but the theory of mind may well have been right. But one of the things that they were concerned with was voluntary action. You decide to lift your finger. Nobody knows how that is possible; to this day we haven’t a clue. The scientists who work on voluntary motion — one of them is Emilio Bizzi, he’s one of MIT’s great scientists, one of the leading scientists who works on voluntary motion — he and his associate Robert Ajemian recently wrote a state-of-the-art article for the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in which they describe what has been discovered about voluntary motion. They say they’ll put the outcome “fancifully.” It’s as if we’re coming to understand the puppet and the strings, but we know nothing about the puppeteer. That remains as much a mystery as it has been since classical Greece. Not an inch of progress; nothing. Well, maybe that’s another permanent mystery.

      !- example : permanent mystery - Descartes study of mind & body and voluntary motion - MIT researcher Emilio Bizzi concludes we don't know why

  2. Nov 2022
    1. Being an English only speaker I love the mystery invoked by the German term "Zettelkasten".

      Example of someone who sees "mystery" in the idea of Zettelkasten, which becomes part of the draw into using it.

  3. Jun 2022
    1. As SherlockHolmes says to Watson on a famous occasion: "If page 534 findsus only in Chapter Two, the length of the first one must have beenreally intolerable."

      Interesting to see Barzun quote Arthur Conan Doyle here. Not surprising given his penchant for mystery novels however.

    1. My own copy of A Catalogue of Crime certainly fits that description, even though I generally disagree with many of its harsh judgments on modern crime fiction. Barzun and Taylor definitely prefer classic whodunits, especially those written with wit, panache, and, above all, cleverness. The Catalogue lists more than 5,000 novel-length mysteries, collections of detective stories, true-crime books, and assorted volumes celebrating the delights of detection. Every entry is annotated, and a succinct critical judgment given.

      While this excerpt doesn't indicate the index card origin of the published book, it does indicate that it has descriptions of more than 5,000 novel-length mysteries, detective stories, etc. which includes annotations and critical judgements of each.

      One can thus draw the conclusion that this shared index card collection of details was used to publish a subsequent book.

    2. Dorothy L. Sayers’ Strong Poison reads in as follows in its entirety: “JB puts this highest among the masterpieces. It has the strongest possible element of suspense—curiosity and the feeling one shares with Wimsey for Harriet Vane. The clues, the enigma, the free-love question, and the order of telling could not be improved upon. As for the somber opening, with the judge’s comments on how to make an omelet, it is sheer genius.”
    1. together with his friend Wendell Hertig Taylor, kept a running tally of every mystery book that came along. Their brief descriptions, scribbled on three-by-five-inch index cards, eventually coalesced into “A Catalogue of Crime,” one of the foremost reference works in the mystery/suspense genre.

      Jacques Barzun had a card index for cataloging mystery/suspense books which he maintained on 3x5" cards with his friend Wendell Hertig Taylor.

      Did he keep a card index for his ideas as well?

  4. Mar 2022
    1. A special quality of humans, not shared by evolution or, as yet, by machines, is our ability to recognize gaps in our understanding and to take joy in the process of filling them in. It is a beautiful thing to experience the mysterious, and powerful, too.
  5. Oct 2021
  6. Oct 2020
    1. And you drink the mixture

      Obviously there's still more book left, but will we never find out where Franklin put the diamond so that Godfrey could later take it? Godfrey obviously did leave the house with the diamond, but it's somewhat upsetting we don't know the full story of that night and probably won't since the only witness is now dead. I guess that poses an interesting question: does a good mystery explain every little detail, or does it give you enough to feel confident in your answer but still have some lingering questions?

  7. Sep 2020
    1. I beg to inform your ladyship,” I said, “that I never, to my knowledge, helped this abominable detective business, in any way, from first to last; and I summon Sergeant Cuff to contradict me, if he dares!”

      Betteredge....you spent the last few chapters following him around and playing detective yourself. I guess his devotion to the family is so strong he's willing to contradict himself this hard, despite claiming to be a good Christian right before this.

    2. The Indians had gone clean out of my head (as they have, no doubt, gone clean out of yours)

      Interesting meta comment because at least personally no, they haven't. While the current theory is that Rachel has stolen her own diamond, it's clear the Indians are still somehow involved. I wonder if this is meant to throw the audience off by making us think we have the answer already, or to show how Betteredge isn't as good of a detective as he thinks he is

  8. Aug 2020
  9. Jul 2018
  10. course-computational-literary-analysis.netlify.com course-computational-literary-analysis.netlify.com
    1. I cannot even declare that he killed the third man inside–for I cannot say that my own eyes saw the deed committed

      This is an interesting mini-mystery or pre-mystery, isn't it? Even before we get to the main mystery (the loss of the diamond), we are primed by the uncertainty of this murder. Of course, it doesn't look good for the suspect here.

  11. Dec 2016
    1. A few who have come into the world will graduate from it. By this, I mean that they will not need to come back here again. You do not need to be a master to graduate from the world. That is very important to understand, particularly since mastery is such a relative term. Mastery in the world does not necessarily mean mastery beyond the world. We must think of mastery as relative to your situation now because this life is not only an experience in and of itself, it is preparation for your life to come and for life beyond the world. That is why much of your education will seem mysterious. If you can enter into the Mystery, you will enter a far greater range of participation that will make you more effective, more capable and much happier in the world.
    2. There are things you must apply yourself to very specifically because there are two aspects to life: There are concrete accomplishments and there is Mystery. You must approach both. Mystery opens you to a greater assistance than you could provide for yourself and saves you from condemning circumstances. Applying yourself to tangible things enables you to reclaim your self-respect and to build a foundation that is sound and firm. That is what personal growth is for-to build a foundation for Knowledge. What other value does it have? The person you are attempting to improve will be shed like a garment when you leave. As you become stable, then you can represent something greater. Without Knowledge, you are still profoundly confused and subject to miseries. Without purpose, meaning and direction, your life is still a desperate event.
    3. to be a student of Knowledge, allow your life to have its mysteries. Do not try to explain everything and justify everything. Knowledge will emerge within you once you have chosen that this be your life. You will become less certain about particulars and more certain about your purpose, meaning and direction. Then you will begin to find freedom from anxiety and ambivalence, and that is the greatest gift of all because a life without anxiety or ambivalence is completely rendered into the world.
  12. Mar 2015
    1. And, indeed, greetings unto you, beloved and holy friends. If I speak in the language of your world, I cannot find those words that can convey to you the Love which I feel for you. I cannot find the words that can convey unto you the Love I feel, that God has for all of us. If I search the languages of your world, I cannot find a concept, a word, an idea, a philosophy, a dogma that can contain, in Truth, the Mystery that is closer to you than your own breath and awaits your discovery.