We live through maps (-1): Preface

[see the previous post for background; this series of posts is a complete translation of `Philosophy Paper, written by F.A. Waaldijk, student of mathematics, student number 8327661, in the year 1991′]

[—–first post in the translation—–]


I don’t know if the hereinafter can be seen as a philosophy paper; and to be honest, when I started it I didn’t much care. I was already glad enough to find myself wanting to write down something of my thoughts, to create something. If this writing fails to meet the requirements, I will try to fashion a second essay. But in this essay I will give myself free rein, I’m almost completely worn out from the obligation to cast everything you do in an easily recognizable form, preferably a standard form. I also do not feel the need to create an overwhelming exposition, a brilliant reasoning as sharp as a sword, although perhaps I would like to regain the belief that such reasonings are more than a pleasant-or-not word play, and that it is actually worthwhile to occupy yourself with such.

Are there avenues of thinking which achieve what other avenues of thinking do not: create perspicacity, clarity, a sort of inner peace? Or is that ultimately not the domain of thinking avenues, is that the domain of: good food, sleep, good friends, woman, man, hiking, gardening? When should you stop asking yourself questions?

At this moment an oblong browngray moth is walking on the whitewashed wall. In the middle of the wall it* now pauses. If you look closely, you see a landscape of irregularities in the whitewash which the moth has to surmount, like spread-out whipped cream.

The moth disappears in the pile on top of my table, the pile of small to medium-sized objects with which I don’t know what to do. My storage space has a certain structure which doesn’t tolerate these objects: they are out of place in all my cupboards and closets. Therefore this pile remains untidied, only, in order to be able to write, I have shoved it* against the wall.

A  year ago, when I had just moved in, my table was bare. But you know how it goes. Always more new stuff and not being able to throw out the old. An extra closet might provide a solution; but for how long?

Similarly, it is hard to throw out a thought that has nested itself in your head, even though thoughts often don’t tolerate each other and you feel the need for extra heads. Maybe in general I’m hard put to see the use in philosophy because I sense too many contradictory reasonings perambulating like ghosts; out of every closet comes another thought, another norm, another sense of duty, such that the question: `what should I do?’ brings forth a many-headed howling. And you start to play them off against each other, this ghost bound by that ghost, this reasoning refuted by yonder argument, etcetera. But the pile of thoughts which you don’t know where to leave is growing.

In this essay I wll try to describe something of the pile of thoughts on my table. Even I wish to describe an extra closet where these thoughts, and others, can find a place. It remains the question whether this all will succeed. In any case the reader should not expect a straightforward [rechtlijnig, `rectilinear’] exposition. I hope to even make plausible in this essay that it is not unwise to be substantially suspicious of language in general, and of straightforward [rechtlijnig, `rectilinear’] expositions specifically. This endeavour (the making plausible that, etc.) is hampered since in this essay I must avail myself of exactly that same language.

Here you see my feelings regarding this essay. Socrates had the bad luck that his words, which he did not want to trust to paper, were written down anyway by Plato. I have the bad luck that I must write this essay. And you, reader**, have the bad luck of reading it. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!

*[translated from `vij’ and `hav’]: see chapter zero [next post]

**[translated from `lezer’ which is gender-specific in Dutch]: here and in all of the essay is meant: reader (f/m)

[—–to be continued in the next post—–]


About fwaaldijk

mathematician (foundations & topology in constructive mathematics) and visual artist
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