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Re: Non-linear / full-2d writing systems?

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, May 16, 2005, 17:39
I have just come across some stuff by Roger Penrose which seems apposite
to the notion of *non-linear* full-2d writing systems. I thought perhaps
that quoting some of it might help in making clear how I understand the
sort of thing Sai had in mind when beginning this thread (I am quite sure
he will put me right if I have got it wrong   :)

These are quotes from paragraphs he excerpted:
1. "The psychic entities which seem to serve as elements of thought are
certain signs and more or less clear images which can be 'voluntarily'
reproduced and combined ... Conventional words or other signs have to be
sought for laboriously only in a second stage, when the mentioned
associative play is sufficiently established and can be reproduced at will.
Albert Einstein

2."It often happens that after being hard at work , and having arrived at
results that are perfectly clear and satisfactory to myself, when I try to
express them in language I feel that I must begin by putting myself upon
another intellectual plain. I have to translate my thoughts into a
language that does not run very evenly with them. I therefore waste a vast
deal of time in seeking appropriate words and phrases, and am conscious,
when required to speak on a sudden, of being often very obscure through
mere verbal maladroitness, and not through want of clearness of perception.
  That is one of the small annoyances of my life."
Francis Galton

3. "...I shall completely align my case with Galton's in the sense that
even after reading or hearing a question, every word disappears the very
moment I am beginning to think it over; and I fully agree with
Schopenhauer when he writes, 'thoughts die the moment they are embodied in
Jacques Hadamard

Roger Penrose himself adds: "The difficulty that these thinkers have had
in translating their thoughts into words is something that I frequently
experience myself."

I find Jacques Hadamard's words very interesting. This is, as i explained
in an earlier email in this thread, very similar to what I have found
reading Latin. As I read, the words disappear and if I am asked to
rephrase the thoughts into English, I often find it quite tricky and
inevitable some of the thought is lost in the process. (I am not, of
course, talking about trivial texts!)

What prompted me to revisit Penrose, so to speak, was an incident in a
play about the young Stephen Hawking I was watching on TV last evening.
The character playing the part of Roger Penrose. In one scene he was in a
pub or at a party (I've forgotten which) and some one was asking him if he
wanted another drink. He didn't reply & was asked several times. Then he
replied: "Oh sorry, I was thinking - words get in the way."

"Words get in the way." I thought: "Isn't that what this thread is about?
Those linear elements called words (however we define them) get in the way.

"Thoughts die," wrote Shopenhauer, "the moment they are embodied in words.
" This could be rephrased, methinks, as thoughts die the moment they are
forced into linear representation. Wasn't the idea of this thread to
consider how thoughts can, so to speak, be kept alive?

"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language."         J.G. Hamann, 1760


Tony Jebson <jebbo@...>Tech: conlang definition
Sai Emrys <saizai@...>