Saturday, April 11, 2009
The Logic Paper
The chapters are too long and the words don't seem to follow any logical sequence. I mean, of course they do, they are very well contructed words. As in written in the Introduction, the chapters and the sentences and the thoughts and the assignments are the product of a meticulous process, putting it all together, making everything intelligible to even someone who has never read such material before. But to me, to that someone who has been in the course, has comprehensively attended several classes, read these chapters before but nevertheless is alienated by them, these words are beginning to go out of focus. I cannot tell why. They seem sensible enough. There are sentences within these long passages that make sense to me. They seem to define a lot of concepts and entities and I am not, as a rule, anathema to definition. Then why? Why is it that the enitre gamut put together becomes more difficult to get throught to? What happens in that momentary, brief gap between the single sentences and the gargantuan passages? I cannot tell. I can't tell if the words are meant to be incongrous. But incongruity is not a very convincing charge. It is certainly not incongrous to everyone. Even I experience slight but pertinent moments of understanding, when all the words fall into place. When the definitions seems articulable and in alignment with the rest of the ideas I need to digest. Still, a persistent incongruity comes back intermittenty to undo whatever is done and learnt. This moving, tenuous, two-way path is difficult. It takes away from the intial concession of having got the chapter. It kind of makes a demonstrable nuisance of every tiny step taken. When I think of this, the image of a treadmill comes to mind. Even when you're walking on the treadmill in a gym, you know that you are not moving forward. You walk faster and faster, until you reach optimum speed. When you reach it, you walk consistently the remaining time. You keep walking and walking and walking on it, even though you are not going ahead. But that is the purpose of the exercise. You are not meant to be going ahead, you are meant to be stranded, predicated in a circumscribed space, not allowed to walk out of its boundaries, the belt of the machine. However, if in normal circumstances, out on the pavement along the side of a road, your walking ceased and the ground below transmogrified into a indiscernible treadmill, not letting you move forward, you would panic. You would be completely confused. And the episode would be, irrespective of explanation, unintelligible to you.