Monday, September 19, 2011

Fit 6, pg. 67/3 … the snark of reason produces sleep



THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK by Lewis Carroll, a graphic novel by this artist and explained here, page by page, panel by panel, squiggle by squiggle … right now we're in Fit the Sixth, where the Barrister (played by Martin Heidegger) is dreaming of prosecuting a pig …

We've been wandering the Carrollian Dreamtime of Fit the Sixth for quite a while, exploring the fascinating connections between Victorian Nonsense and the legal profession. This illustrator has seen fit to expand the nightmarish implications of all of the above by ensuring that the Barrister, Snark, Judge, Jury, Witnesses and even Defendant all possess the features of Martin Heidegger, the eminent Continental brain-and-nitpicker.

But perhaps now is as good a time as any to awaken from this dream, to ignore the bellowing and wake up to face the ringing in one's ears. And there's the rub, it seems, for awakening from one dream does not automatically guarantee one a safe berth in whatever reality that is assumed to enfold both dream and dreamer.

In short, when we awake, do we awake into reality or merely another dream? Perhaps such questions do not trouble the sleep of most readers but for those of us who Hunt the Snark, such enigmas are pure catnip, knowing as we do that Nonsense is the dream of Logic.

Like so many of the broad, unverified statements with which this blog is littered, I'll not bother with the piddling details behind it. It's all a question of recursion, really, and the very mention of that word gives most Occidentals a bad case of ontological hives.

From whence comes this fear? Eastern philosophy is brimming with the mind-addling fumes of recursion, it's the cat's pyjamas of classical Hindu metaphysics and for good reason: once one accepts recursion as a valid foundation for one's world view, reality starts looking a lot, well … more fun. All of which is a rather giggle-inducing poke-in-the-eye of what good old stodgy Aristotelians once called the First Cause.

All of which confirms this Snarkista's growing suspicion that for the High Anglican-cum-logician Carroll, Nonsense was the inflammatory reaction of a logician's mind plagued by the chronic affliction of Belief …

Whether you call it the First Cause or the Author or even the Illustrator, it's clear as mud that something is going on here, something fiendishly similar to a funhouse hall of mirrors haunted by a genuinely tricksy Boojum.

Of such mind-mangling quiddities are the recursive arabesques of Snarkish ontology constructed, dear readers. Now discuss amongst yourselves, please. And keep it down, I'm going back to sleep.

NB. The train hovering in the background is actually a wretchedly clumsy drawing of a 1967 Ford Falcon, a sturdy vehicle whose chauffeur is puttin' the pedal to the medal in response to his passengers' request to "take us out of this picture." Poor sods, little do they know, eh?