living computation / Dave Ackley

It’s a fact

From the Big Book of Ordinary Magic:

There are no facts, only factors.

Indications: For unjamming thoughts or discussion derailed by some claim of conclusive fact.

Factslike definitions tend to be overrated. Claims can be false, of course, but the real problem is that every expressed fact embodies some particular world view, which even if somehow ‘true’ is also inescapably limited and incomplete simply because it’s merely one perspective.

A factor also brings an implied context, but whereas a fact wants to stand alone and dominate with its one puny point of view, factors demand to be weighed and balanced and integrated into some larger picture.

Contraindications: Safe for general use. May cause mild irritation, especially if applied directly to consensus reality, such as arguing that gravity is just one factor affecting human levitation on Earth.

Provenance: “…only factors” is entry #2 in the General use section of slogans.txt.

If it’s a fact—don’t say it, use it.

Indications: To be recalled when one is tempted to state a fact with the intent of persuasion. Using a fact means finding and presenting consequences that are relevant in the current context; these will prove more persuasive than the fact itself, in its unadorned ‘internal’ form.

Baldly stating a fact to make a point is lazy at best; it’s that just being honest thing again; it’s disrespecting the audience by implying they should do your work and convince themselves.

Contraindications: Generally not meant to be stated aloud, of course, since it’s kind of a fact itself…

Provenance: “…don’t say it, use it.” is entry #31 in the General use section of slogans.txt.

Well, next week is August, so this is the last ‘official rant’ in our little series here. Perhaps there’ll be more later, on some basis.

Feel like I hadn’t a regular deadline like this, for wide-open writing, since I wrote a column called Fish Rapping for the junior high school paper… in what, the late ’60s? Yikes.‘Rapping’ went completely out of style and then came all the way back again as mostly something else since then.

I hate writing… because I write slow and lifeAs Hippocrates (apparently) said: “Ars longa, vita brevis.” fills up; because complete and clear in the head becomes fragments and confusion on the screen; because jesus the web makes it so enervatingly obvious there’s ab-so-lutely nothing new under the sun. I hate admitting I’m ordinary.

…but I love having written, because getting it out of the head just seems good for the mental circulation; because the pile got bigger each week; because I got new-to-me stuff out of it; because every generation needs to retell all the old tales and yes I’m a part of my generation so here we are.

Seems like the full title could be:

The Big Book of Ordinary Magic: How to Win Without Fighting.

After this summer project, ‘tBBoOM’ feels kind of like it’s retelling Sun Tsu“The Art of War”, for the ‘Me Generation,’ perhaps.

OK, well, that’s it for now. We only want somewhat of a sense of conclusion here, an interim roundness, not a destroy-the-universe full stop.

That’s a fact.

Living computation continues, of course, for that’s what it does and why, its mechanism and purpose.

Let’s see what’s next.

— § —

27 Jul 2004
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