Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I was just posting over on Synergeo how I'm looking at a conceptual triangle as governing my projects: Wittgenstein, Synergetics, Python. Yes, esoteric (Esozone conference coming right up, but nothing scheduled yet on my end).

Wittgenstein was a contemporary of Hitler's, an Austrian, who ended up in a POW camp in WWI, where he started hammering together a world famous philosophy that made him the darling of Cambridge. After publishing his magnum opus, he hung up his academic regalia and took off into the wilds again, only to return with a slap of the forehead, realizing he'd made some mistakes, or at least now he had a better way of saying what he'd been trying to say. I did my Princeton thesis on his so-called second philosophy (Philosophical Investigations, On Certainty, Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, Philosophical Grammar etc.).

Synergetics is a philosophical language invented by the famous American born inventor R. Buckminster Fuller, one of the first jet setters and one of the most intrepid, never traveling as a tourist. He used this invented language as a way to anchor all kinds of incoming communications from all over the globe. He was friends with Marshall McLuhan and the two of them formed the nucleus of a subversive network which also included "Sonny", my mentor E.J. Applewhite. The magnum opus is on the web and, like Wittgenstein's stuff, is very much a topic in these blogs.

Python is a computer programming language. The first language I really respected a lot was APL by Kenneth Iversion, first encountered at Princeton. Then I followed the xBase trajectory for many years, starting with Ashton-Tate's dBase II and ending with Microsoft Visual Foxpro (VFP9). Whereas xBase was retrofitted to become object oriented, I think successfully (it's a better language than VB), Python was object oriented from the ground up and is even more intelligently designed. It reminds me of APL in some ways, although these two are not in the same language family.

How I relate these three vertices of my triangle is as follows: the later Wittgenstein introduces the notion of "language games" which relates easily to the computer science concept of "namespaces", which Python well implements. The idea of namespaces helps thinkers make room in their thinking for remote vocabularies, alien shop talks, extraordinary grammars (philosophies), such as Bucky Fuller's Synergetics. Given the latter has a lot of geometric content for its core logic, implementing Python modules to express this geometry has been yet another edge on this triangle.

The mutually reinforcing nature of this design helps guide my curriculum writing, which includes journaling in my blogs.

:: google today ::