Alien Anthropology

Whispering Doubts and Paradox

I wonder if we whisper little doubts to ourselves as ways of staying alive. Entertaining certainties is reassuring but leads to complacency and this, in turn, can lead to catastrophe. It is worth remembering that the definitions and identities we inhabit are only as bounded and certain as are the languages with which we inflate them and these, the linguistic filters of thought and communication, are anything other than unproblematically complete or subject to closure.

It is only from within the self-regulatory matrix of reference and representation that language allows the simulation of closure and the dissimulation of incompleteness. The incompleteness of language is a functional microcosm of a much broader principle of indefinite extensibility in the logic, physics, chemistry, biology and neuroanatomy that sustain it. Without errors in encoding or spontaneous as self-referentially recursive systemic insights as representational innovation, these languages would not only stagnate but they would quite simply never have come to exist.

Paradox is not inadmissible because the world disavows it but because our symbolic languages can not describe it. The reason I mention paradox here is because I know of no other word sufficient to capture a state of affairs in which a frame of reference anchors itself upon a certainty that could only ever exist within that system of reference. Our experience of language is built upon a certain teleology that is absent in the causal mechanisms and organic information flows that produce that language.

I am whispering here, to myself at least, of a kernel core paradox and mystery in human experience as communication and cognition. I doubt that reflecting on this will keep me alive in any ultimate sense, quite the opposite, but it does at least make life more interesting, for a while.

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