ANAMIKA

'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Logic(?) Of Life

The author of 'Dog Journals' (link on the right panel ->) argues logically: "Life is a bitch, they say. So, since I love mine so much, I must be a Dog". My own relation to Life (mine that is) is marked less by love than by the utterest bewilderment (from my side that is).

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Indeed Mathematics must be the only realm where hard logic can get you somewhere, a realm where, for instance, you can actually establish something by negating its opposite. And this logic often comes a cropper in real life, where one often does not even know what is the opposite to what! Consider this real exchange:

Self: "Bananas are great. They not only taste great, they are perfect for all digestive problems."

A Mathematician: "I can't agree with you. What you say can be invalidated very easily."

Self: "How?"

The Mathematician: "Simple. It is obvious that nothing can cure *both* constipation and diarrhoea. That implies bananas cannot help with both!"

But then, they can!
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Long back we studied an essay at school: "The Origin of Laughter". The author describes many theories on the origin of human laughter and then debunks many of them with counter examples. One of those theories went:

"Laughter arises from *contrasts*. Constrasts between two characters or objects, or between two unrelated situations or the situations in which the same character finds himself. For example, a dwarf seriously reaching for a fruit accessible only to a tall man evokes derisive laughter by the contrast between his lack of height and his aspirations".

The essay then gives the following 'counter-example' to this theory: Consider two men who are identical in every respect. When we see them together we tend to laugh, not at any contrast between them (there simply isn't any) but at the total *absence* of contrast (their identical nature). Ergo, contrast is not a sufficient enough reason for laughter.

Question: Is not the total absence of any distinction between the two guys a source of contrast (between two 'normal' people, some distinction is expected)? Is this example a counter-example at all? In fact, to self, it only *supports* the given hypothesis!

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Many years ago, a friend of mine graduated with a Ph.D. He told me: "Hey, tonight, we are having a bash. Please join."

Self: I am not sure if my coming will be okay. X (another friend of the inviter and now, an eminent academician) would be there I guess; and as you know, he does not like me too much so...

The Gracious Host (TGH hereafter): Of course X will be there. But why worry? *I* am calling you, right?

Self: Thanks a lot. But I can always take a separate treat from you, like...

TGH: Just come, Man. And don't worry!

The party happened; I attended and so did X. Rum flowed. And somewhere there was an argument between X and self. The hows and whys and whats of it are lost to my memory now - except X repeatedly ordering me to "shut up!"... The next day, I met TGH again at a chai shop.

Self: Your party was grand. But perhaps I drank a bit too much and probably talked too much. Guess X was...

TGH: Yeah, X was really unhappy with your behavior; not just X, even Y (another friend of TGH and X's and a neutral to self) was pissed off; and he told me as much.

Self: I see. But you know, after a couple of drinks...

TGH: Yeah, I can see that. But...X was real upset; he said later, you had no business to be there.

Self: Hmm, know what? X and I actually are saying the same thing - that I should not have come - I told you yesterday I will stay away ... and isn't it very interesting, this total agreement between X and me actually brings out the difference between us?

TGH: Whatever, as a friend, I would advise you to be a bit more careful with people...

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Back to the here and now. Immediately after "I must be a dog", 'Dog Journals' negates his own 'deduction', not with logic but with a fact of life: "Well, I am not a dog. I wish I were but I am not!"

7 Comments:

  • At 11:53 PM, Blogger Two Minds said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 5:16 AM, Blogger R.Nandakumar said…

    two minds,
    thanks for visiting, again.

    by saying i did right by attending the party, you disagree with X; and X and i were saying the same thing. that means you disagree with me too. yet, you are a friend ;)

     
  • At 4:03 AM, Blogger Iceman said…

    but...
    Life's a bitch! And I am a dog!

     
  • At 4:05 AM, Blogger Iceman said…

    belated b'day wishes nigger!

     
  • At 7:43 AM, Blogger R.Nandakumar said…

    iceman,

    thanks for the wishes and for remembering :)

    so you are back to blogging, from london! hope you are having a great time out there.

     
  • At 3:37 AM, Blogger Biby Cletus said…

    Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

    Warm Regards

    Biby Cletus - Blog

     
  • At 6:20 AM, Blogger R.Nandakumar said…

    thanks biby for visiting and for the kind words and for the link.

     

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