Tower of Babble (Part 1): some gods are wetter than others

ANCIENT ROMAN: Neptune is the God of the Sea!

ANCIENT GREEK: No, Poseidon is the God of the Sea!

FOOL: You're both idiots!
Neptune is the name you Romans call the God of the Sea.
And Poseidon is the name you Greeks call the God of the Sea.

ANCIENT ROMAN: Dunno about that... Neptune is wetter and saltier than Poseidon. We'll have to go to war.

Fool: WTF. You just don't get it. Neptune is the name of the Roman god of the sea. Poseidon is the name of the Greek god of the sea.

ANCIENT GREEK: No. They're not really the same gods. We'll have to go to war.

FOOL: It's the frickin' Meditteranean! One part of a sea can't be saltier than another!

CHEMIST:...well actually, those parts where rivers discharge ther freshwater are less salty. So in theory...

FOOL: There's a bucket of the Mediterranean that Romans consider to be their sea, that is saltier overall than another bucket of the Mediterranean that Greeks consider to be their sea.

ANCIENT ROMAN: Nah! It's all ours, every drop, from Gibraltar to Lebanon. Mare nostrum.

FOOL: Maybe if you mixed together the waters of the Ligurian, Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas, that water would be saltier than the water you would get if you mixed the waters of the Aegean, Ionian, Thracian, Cilician and Myrtoan seas.

Noting also that it always depends on how you slice it. Seeing as we can create and dissolve seas within seas within seas, make meanings out of thin air, categorise stuff to within an inch of its life, conceptualise gestaltishly every which way and Venn -- and generally be in the business of manufacturing mental elaborations, such as are warned about in the Tibetan Book of the Dead and other texts.

But using language to talk about language is unreliable: self-reflexivity almost always leads to paradox.


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Antares said...

Funny and serious. "Using language to talk about language is unreliable..." True, but preferable to playing solitaire, no? :-)

masterymistery said...

Antares, I'd say it depends: If the choice is between talking to another flesh and blood entity, then yes, language is preferable to playing solitaire. But if the choice is between talking to another flesh and blood entity, about language, then no, the opposite is true!

Ask the readers of this blog. They'd both agree.

Thanks for your comment, Cheers, MM.