Or "Can a DKR bridle unbridable thought?"
Or "Loom of frustration."
Or "Re: Knowledge representation."
Or "Should I really inflict this piece on anyone?"
Wednesday morning, April 26. -- I just began reading this thread and almost
immediately something began to revolt in me. And yet, I must (as indeed I do)
respect the opinions of people who have spent much of their lives informing
themselves in the best tradition of educated society.
Before moving on to the next paragraph, let's share the observation that my
opening sentence contains, contrary to the dogma of "one paragraph, one notion,"
at least eight nodes of information, i.q. I; just; "began"; "to read"; "almost
immediately"; "something"; "to revolt"; "in me" -- a breakdown which, to be
sure, is just one way of splitting the atomic ideal. And I haven't yet completed
the paragraph. Also observe that this very last sentence, just written, implies
a node of information that is hidden right after the word "completed." That
implied node of information is the action to which the noun "paragraph" was
subjected to. (Tiresome, am I not?)
Eric's first post on the subject matter of atomization of language, or thought
.... Oh, I must stop again. There mostly does not seem to be a one-to-one
relationship between the components (free radicals, atoms, molecules, crystals,
etc.) of thought and the components of language. Language might be seen as a
conduit of thought, and, like my back-country telephone line, a most important,
but far from a perfect conduit. Take. for example, the word "mankind" which,
when taken out of context, may well signal an antifeminist attitude. "Mankind,"
therefore," is an instance where we find at least two meanings within a single
word. Isotopes, anybody?
What upset me immediately is the top-down approach embodied by the class
object-oriented terminology. As applied to text (and maybe to the potential of
computing as well), I question the usefulness of a Simon-pure object-oriented
approach. A top-down approach, it seems to me, is bridling the unbridable, a
tool that communicates a hard-to-discipline melange of logical order and
emotions, of what wells from the conscious and the levels of the
less-than-conscious. Let me show my concern by trying to recapture some of the
fleeting thoughts that went through my mind when reading the paragraphs under
the heading "Text Nodes."
I quote: The fundamental unit of a DKR is an item of information. Since the
ideal in writing is to have "one idea per paragraph", an "information node" can
be thought of as a paragraph of text. Headings stand apart from other text, as
well, so a heading is a special (short) paragraph, or information node.
The first sentence quoted is a postulate that probably won't stand the test of
scrutiny. The second sentence turns the tables on the postulate; and that quite
aside from the stated ideal in writing. Beaudelaire, Joyce, Conrad, Schlink are
but some of the people whose celebrated works are what they are because their
ideal is to stuff in a little extra. As do children and salesmen, and, well,
don't we all? As for headings being nodes of information, may I invite you back
to the smorgasbord of headings at the beginning of this piece. Which one best
conveys what I am writing about?
At this point, I ought to realize that I am reading Eric's post out of (his)
context and putting it into mine. In other words, the meaning of text is subject
to environmental influence. (Geez, I think I could expand that last sentence
into a book.) I also understand that precisely because of this problem, language
must contain something that is not just "purely informational." It must contain
a funnel of words to guide the reader or listener coming in from the cold as
quickly as possible to the point the emitter is trying to make. That funnel of
words has been called redundancy. I understand from having read a couple of
atoms from Shannon and Wheeler that English is about 30 percent redundant;
redundant, that is, from the point of view of its central messages, but an
essential redundancy to guide the innocent to the nectar of an attempted
How then, with these notions in my mind, may I feel compelled to keep on
reading? But I continued anyway, forcing myself.
Quoting: Node behaviors are defined in a class (object template). Every text
node must contain an attribution -- a pointer to the author, or an identifying
string. A copy of that node may be edited, which suggests the need for a split
operation, for example. After node is split into one or more fragments, and edit
operation could replace some fragments or insert new ones that have a different
author. Some of the operations appropriate to a node might therefore include
split, delete, replace, and insert.
My immediate problem, after blindly sliding through the first sentence (because
it lacks the, for me, prerequisite redundancy), is "a pointer to the author."
Individual authorship, of course, is a concept that belongs to the class
"culture." Ancient Greek culture did not recognize this kind of authorship.
Homer rhapsodized, literally meaning that he stitched together. He stitched
descriptions that were fragments of other tales to create his tale. He then
added rhyme to reason for staunching his memory. (No art of poetry for him; just
plain craftmanship.) A good thing that Eric added "or an identifying string."
Luck has it that I stayed the course for at this point I find Eric introducing
ideas that capture my attention. I might quickly add to his list of editing
operations on a node of information: re-emote and recontextualize (ain't she
sweet?). It is well to remember that re-emoting may change "objective meaning"
(??) totally. A simple re-ordering of wordsmay efffect this. "Just so," you may
think, whereas the editor conscienciously meant to be oh "so just."
At this point, my mind fleetingly dwells on translation. How simple would it be
to translate from one language into another if language could be clearly
atomized. ("How simple would it be," I wrote. Not "How simple it would be.")
At this point, I must realize, I think, that the kind of text Eric writes about
(no, I didn't say wrote!) is not natural language, not even a transcript of
natural thoughts. He is writing about formalized transcripts of some sort of
culturally bridled thoughts. Among these are the, supposedly redundancy-free
languages of mathematics and computer programming. And, perhaps, of zealots, who
tend to consider their ethics so purified from redundancy as to justify an
attitude of "my way or no way."
Languages of scientific and technological cultures might be less redundant than
natural language -- and easier to translate. The disciplined listener needs only
half the words required by an undisciplined one, Which brings up a concern one
should have with public DKRs.
Quoting: Note that when the node is split, two objects exist where one did
before. Every node must therefore be capable of being the root of a subtree.
Although it may start out life as a simple node that contains or points to an
item of text, it must also be capable of pointing to a list of text elements.
(That list might also include markup elements, like HTML bold tags: <b>.) Since
each item in that list may itself point to a list of subitems, the resulting
structure is a tree.
Interesting indeed. At one time, I dwelled on the use of adjectives as a means
of splitting a node and on adverbs as means of further modulation. I mentally
compared their use to the words we have for color. The little red engine that
could. Blue moon. But primary colors don't suffice beyond childhood. Orangy,
brown-gray become necessary additions. For the artist we have special
chromatograms. For scientists we have that concretized abstraction of
vibrational frequencies. Serving roles not unlike adjectives are hyphens, and I
have wondered whether we might introduce for greater expressive precision a more
potent hyphen by borrowing the equal sign, e.g. "a brown=gray-colored object"
would make a somewhat more precise statement than "a brown-grayish object" once
propagated by the discerning.
And at this point, I must ask myself, what is the best use of my time and how
much may I impose on others? And how just am I to the author who began this
thread, unquestionably a man one cannot but hold in high esteem?
I feel so frustrated.
Better go outdours for some fresh air. With oxygen of a particularly refreshing
Ever so diatomic in vibrational embrace.
P.S. I wrote this yesterday morning and decided not to put it on the forum.
Until I read Jack Park's piece a moment ago. Funny how different our two pieces
are, and still so very much the same. That's language for you.
Jack Park wrote about
Knowledge Representation (wasRe: [unrev-II] Jack Park's "10 Step" Program):
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