Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Confabulations 8: Problems in Translation

Originally posted on May 12, 2011



That word means you can’t actually put it into language. Fie and fiddlesticks, say I. I can try, to Dream the Impossible Dream—read those lyrics! Of course, as noted on the upper right, in the language of a sage from another planet—one who chooses to remain anonymous not because his name is unpronounceable, but because… well, don’t tell anyone, okay? But the speaker really looks to us sort of like a mouse. (Yes, the same super-intelligent speaker in another dimension who built the super-super-super computer described in the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy!) up there on the right? Oh, the message is sort of The Tao that can be spoken is not the Tao. Or the fullness of reality cannot be processed adequately through the left-brain functions of language, and I would add, hardly grasped even with the help of illustrations. But it’s a start.

That form-language is really only a shadow of a multi-dimensional expression of a certain kind of consciousness. There are problems in translation, that’s the point. Okay, here on the left is one of my friends. Some leprechaun types do their own type of trans-dimensional mathematics, which doesn’t yield easily to expression in 2-dimensional space—i.e., on “paper.” But for you, my friends, he is trying—though by the look on his face you can see that he’s uncertain whether he’s succeeded in making it any clearer to you. You know that feeling..

To the right is a more casual expression: I fear my cloud-like pals are not all that precise, but their vaporous existence is evanescent and elusive as… well, clouds. Not that they aren’t real—oh, my friends, you don’t know the tenth of it how multi-dimensionally real they are. But not easily given to accepting boundaries or hard definitions. And, perhaps, that’s their message: Much of reality indeed is more like that than the modernist sentiment that truth is grasp-able.

Then there’s the problem of whether I or any of my spokespersons, henchmen, minions, assistants, backup singers, support staff, colleagues, or whatever you might classify them as might in fact just being silly!

Could this be? And how would we know if it was so? What empirical measures can assess this truly, meta-metaphysical discourse regarding its fact-icity?

I picture it now. Flying saucer lands. Being from another planet, more advanced civilization. Speaks in its own language, with a level of sophistication that accords with inter-dimensional travel. Doesn’t use telepathy. Later some guy who encountered this being is interviewed: So what did he say? “Oh, I couldn’t make it out. Blah blah blah. It didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Silly talk, you know.”

Or maybe that’s what half of the people who listened to Jesus said. That’s what he meant by casting pearls before swine. Not that people were swine. He was too kind for that. But some folks at some levels of consciousness would not recognize what pearls symbolized, their rarity, their value. To pigs they’d just be

Okay, try a different tack, one that always grabbed me! It’s a secret formula! Aha! Now we’re getting down to it. Tell me! what is it?  I can’t tell you! It’s secret! Somehow I always felt that if it weren’t a secret, if they could tell me, then I would understand what it was! I could use the formula to do whatever nefarious or fabulous thing it suggested. There were no problems of chemical engineering when I was a kid. You knew the formula, there it was. Later I got smart. Degrees, everything. You know? I still can’t figure out what most formulas mean and what to do with them. Could it be pearls and swine time?

Okay, seriously now, here’s the explanation. No, oh golly, those star fairies above have altered the explanation so that you can’t understand it. And I so wanted to explain it clearly. Bother!

Well, let’s try math again, as we did in the previous issue of Confabulations. Now do you understand?


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