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Graphical footnotes, 2: the mourning after

[ by Charles Cameron — an example of the “serpent bites own serpent self” paradox from the 2012 election ]

This is offered as a footnote to my earlier post on self-referential aka recursive paradoxes. It is the bottom ten percent, at full width, of the mourning band Pamela Geller put on her Atlas Shrugs 2000 site when she learned of President Obama’s victory in the 2012 Presidential election.


For the record, I do not endorse Ms Geller’s entirely negative view of Islam — a vast and vastly diverse world religion with a long and storied history — nor for that matter her commentary on the election —

UPDATE: Obama won. And America, land of the free, home of the brave, died tonight.

nor the header for the post that consisted entirely of the graphic above — with the black extending an unremitting nine more times the height shown here:


To be blunt: methinks the lady jumpeth shark.


What does interest me more than a little is the self-reflexive paradox with which she phrases her insight that America just killed itself — an example of the kind of paradox I was talking about in my post Numbers by the numbers: one.

2 Responses to “Graphical footnotes, 2: the mourning after”

  1. Seven Segment Displays Says:

    Actually I did not quite understand that whether this post is about Obama winning the reelection or some anti-Islamic views. 

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    It isn’t about Obama winning the election, and it isn’t about anti-Islamic views, although the anti-Islamic Ms Geller provided me with the example of what I’m talking about with her comment on the election result.
    I am trying to show a different style of thinking to the one that’s predominant in our society, a style that’s more typical of artists than analysts, and which uses a toolkit of its own.  I want to introduce that toolkit so some of the people who are thinking most deeply about current affairs, members of the intelligence and policy decision-making communities in particular and bright folks everywhere in general — and this particular post is about a “form” that should be a signal to us that something noteworthy is going on.
    The “form” in question is the self-referential paradox: in this case, Geller’s phrase “America took revenge on America”.  
    If we notice this formulation, because of it’s remarkable self-devouring shape, we will pay more attention to the points its “snake biting its own tail” logic presents as possibilities:

    that America started out in one direction, and now has turned and is proceeding in the opposite direction, which is something Carl Jung, following, Heraclitus called enantiodromia — an idea for which the hairpin is an apt image,
    That America has come full circle and is back where it started, an image for which the cycle  of the seasons, or of death and rebirth are apt illustrations, or
    that America is now a house divided, a schizophrenic nation, and thus both irrational and bound to fall, the image here being the black and white “spy vs spy” image from MAD magazine, and
    that America is quite simply committing suicide, self-destructing, the image here being precisely the serpent devouring its tail known as ourobouros.

    These four images or patterns are themselves examples of “forms” in the artistic sense, recurrent patterns in the world of ideas, things, processes, histories and discussions, of the sort that I maintain the human mind is designed to recognize, to single out for recognition precisely because they are important process markers, archetypes, patterns on which the world itself and our understanding of it can be built.  
    And it is important to note that they are not mutually exclusive, that they can be “superposed” on one another, that each has its own insights to offer us in thinking about the issue in question.
    Here, that issue is the state of the US — its health, its purposes, its progress, its prognosis.  
    I am not offering a prognosis myself, although I will say that Ms Geller appears to me to select her data-points to fit the curve she wants to see, and she’s hardly the person I’d turn to for an informed and insightful grasp of the enormously complex body of thought and history covered by the term Islam.

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