[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Re: Joy and Humor

Feb 06, 1994 09:30 AM
by daratman

Thanks to Andrew for mentioning Norman Cousins book. I read it
two days before I went into the hospital. It helped get me through.

I'd like to recommend a couple myself...
Several years ago I ran across a book entitled "Analyzing Informal
Falacies" by S. Morris Engel. It was filled with cartoons that were
used to demonstrate specific areas of miscommunication arising
when using the English language. Engel itemizes a dozen falacies
of logic inherent in the structure of the language and points out how
some 200 exceptions to the rules complicate the problem even more.

Languages suffering from such poor construction are often more a
hindrance to communication than a help.

Another book regarding the same problem is "Anguish Languish"
by H. L. Chace, retired Professor of French at Miami University
of Ohio. He tells several well known stories by the use of puns.
Example from "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut".....
     "Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter
      murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge dock florish."

By writing this way, Chace teaches many things. Once you have
deciphered the puns, you can leave it at that. But the author went
a step further, and constructed another message for those that
take the time to replace the puns with synonyms. The construction
is very much like a rhebus puzzle.

In this forum I've seen misunderstandings and frustrations abound,
especially when attempting to share a joke. Let's put part of the
blame for this where it belongs - on the language itself, and on the
difficulty of translating thoughts from one poorly constructed
language into another.

>Some may ask "what is the big deal if I use `soul' to mean
>`self'"?  But there is a big difference when one is trying to
>teach theosophical concepts.  These teachings are difficult
>enough as they are.  So why create more confusion by substituting
>one term for another, or by changing the meaning of terms
>whenever the spire moves one to do so?  We need "definite words
>for definite things", as HPB says, or we get confusion. (Jerry H.E.)

A few months ago I attended a lecture in Wheaton by John Algeo.
I believe he stated that HPB said that all of her writings could be
translated into a few pages of geometry. Now, that's a language I
understand and I thought it would save me a lot of time traveling
through layers of linguistic mumbo jumbo, misrepresentations,
accusations, secrets and lies that have been passed down to us
through the centuries. Mr. Algeo's presentation and writings are what
brought me more actively into the study of Theosophy and to this forum.

My search for Geometric meaning has introduced me to a diverse group,
including Pythagoras, Thoth, DaVinci, Galileo, Bach, and Escher, and
will perhaps allow me to understand HPB.

It is difficult to translate Geometry, Math and Music into words.
I certainly haven't done well in my previous postings. It's also
difficult to do it the other way around. But Egyptians used to give
their children stories that could be translated into geometric
drawings. The Hebrew system of Gematria also provides a method of
translating words into numbers and patterns. I have to wonder why HPB
didn't provide the world with that geometry, if she knew it,
and I wonder if we shouldn't be attempting to do that now, rather
than defining words with other words, until we agree upon them.

Beyond the Physics and Philosophy and Symbology of Geometry, there is
Humor and quiet Joy. It is most notable to me in the design of
Egyptian hieroglyphics (which the Greeks seem to have missed).

Why do you suppose Thoth has the head of an Ibis?
Why is the Heart weighed with a Feather?

Daniel Hampson

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application