A Question for AM de Lange LO23956

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 02/11/00

Replying to LO23942 --

Dear Organlearners,

Fred Nickols <nickols@worldnet.att.net> write:

>It just occurred to me that I might be a bit dense
>(of course that thought occurred to lots of others
>long before now).

Greetings Fred,

The following is not to criticise you in particular.

I have to bite on my teeth not to become abusive myself when I observe
anybody use the word "dense" figuratively with respect to learning. That
word summarise for me much of what is wrong with our education -- mental

A sponge is not dense. Thus it can soak up water. Likewise the figurative
meaning of "dense" is that the mind is so solid that no knowledge can
enter it, even by forced penetration through seemingly innocent teaching

Speak of mental abuse.

>Here's the question:
>When you use /_\ is that a way of representing the symbol
>delta, that is, an increment as in an increment of change?


An "increment" and a "difference" is mathematically one and the same
thing. Should X have two values X(1) and X(2) in that order, then both the
difference and the increment is given by X(2) - X(1), but not by X(1) -
X(2). The capital letter "delta" which would be D in our alphabet, is
used to indicate this D-ifference (increment).

It is a great pity that the top row of our key boards have the signs ~ ! @
# $ % ^ & * ( ) _ +, but not the "capital delta" of Greek. Thus we have
to use three keystrokes /, _ and \ to make it. But is it not very, very
revealing of the "being" status of the minds of all those involved in
computer technology because no provision for /_\ has been made on the key

[Host's Note: Yes, it takes three keystrokes here on LO since our standard
for msgs is "plain text." Thank you, At, for NOT using the actual 'delta'
character which you probably can create on your keyboard. On my Mac it's
Option-J. ...Rick]

>Forgive me if I missed this in earlier postings.

Fred, perhaps you have missed it because I was using it for "change" only.
I hope that you, more than anybody else, will understand the difficulties
involved here.

Change is something which happens -- a becoming. All static symbols on
paper or screen are beings, even the compound symbol /_\. What we try to
with /_\. is to capture a becoming with a being. Since we also symbolise
beings with static symbols, we are actually doing a dubious, obfuscating
thing. This is what troubled the mind of Satre so much.

When I write /_\V, I mean "the becoming of volume" rather than "the being
of volume" for which I will use in any case the pure V. Hence, by writing
the /_\ before the V, I actually mark the V. This is rather a silly thing
to do because a static symbol like V with any static symbol as its mark,
even the /_\ , is nothing but again a static symbol.

Unless we bring in the concept of TACIT knowledge. We cannot articulate a
becoming with a static symbol. When we do so, there will always be
something which we fail to articulate with a static symbol. Trying to
articulate all our tacit knowledge is a rather a silly thing to do like
the /_\V example in the previous paragraph tells us.

But we can express a becoming with other becomings -- "talk" with our
deeds rather than our mouths.

So, whenever we use /_\Z to write "change of Z", we must remember that
even "change of Z" is mere talk! Tacitly involved is a doing. If we are
not sure by our very experiences that such a becoming underlies our talk
about "change of X", it is better for us to shut up.
Fred, it is very easy to produce DYNAMICAL symbols rather than STATIC
symbols with computer technology. The dynamic icons which you see in many
web pages tells you that it can be done. However, here it is done at a
very high level with HTML language -- a kind of HYPER add-on. What I want
is that it should be done on the lowest (HYPO) level of machine language
-- integral to the machine-human interface. It is exactly here where it
becomes most difficult to do because the people who delivers the
technology would not incorporate such an innovation -- too drastic a
change. Again, is it not very, very revealing of the "being" status of the
minds of all those involved in computer technology?

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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