I will try to explain.
But first, I am not sure if my P.S. follow-up to that email got through to the list...I sent a wikipedia link to the "halting problem" I mentioned in the prior email, plus a reference to Christopher Langton's 1991 essay, "Life at the Edge of Chaos". This is my 2nd mention of Langton, I think. Plus I notice just now that Roger has included Langton in a response to G.H.... so there is some convergence here in the different threads.
You asked 2 things...
"Do you mean to imply that 'our' cognitive process are somehow capable as being 'felt' as 'non-human'? Can you perhaps expand on this?
Do you also mean to imply that 'human' equates to 'a sense of self'?.
I was speculating that our experience of puns extends beyond linguistics. There is the linguistic approach via analysis of lexicons. Then there is an approach that focuses on the *matter* of language processes.
Is the system that makes possible our processing of language itself language, or something at a level "below" language? e.g., the chemistry of neural networks, etc.
If we are "struck dumb" with laughter at a pun, we are experiencing something viscerally with our body. But it is a process that is unavailable to us. Freud, the Surrealists, Artaud, et al, made a stab at it. Freud dodged by calling it the Un-conscious.
My speculation is that we are experiencing the "halting problem" at another level of experiencing language. Maybe this is just a metaphor. But I like the idea that the incompatibilities of a pun allow us a brief window onto an intensive process of our own becoming, which is where life is said to happen...at the edge of chaos.
I suggest checking out DeLanda's assemblage theory. His discussion of emergence (here, we are talking about the emergent self, but his theory goes farther) presents the idea that emergence takes place through interactions of a population of whole entities at a level below. This population of components are not defined by their integration into the whole. The components are equally independent. As he puts it, the emergent entity (e.g., a person) is both irreducible AND decomposible. He gives a vivid example...how a dog can have its heart taken out of its body, but the heart itself can be put into another dog and resume its regular function. I think that DeLanda is aiming at the expressivity of the non-human, a way of thinking about all matter as immanent process...expressive...anything but inert.
So, in a way, I think that the human might equate to a sense of self, but only as long as it is recognized that the sensing of self is not a subjective vague idea, but an actual material process constantly occuring out there in the populous world.
Puns, and maybe code itself, give us a clue to computability and expressivity and their linkage.
On Mar 23, 2014, at 10:55 AM, <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Barbara
> I've read your post a couple of times and am not clear how you arrived at your extrapolated speculation as stated:
> <I speculate that when we are presented with a pun, we *feel* the disequilibrium of the non-human, i.e., we feel our cognitive processes as autonomous from our sense of self>
> Do you mean to imply that 'our' cognitive process are somehow capable as being 'felt' as 'non-human'? Can you perhaps expand on this?
> Do you also mean to imply that 'human' equates to 'a sense of self'?.
> With many thanks
> Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Barbara Lattanzi <[log in to unmask]>
> Sender: "Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org" <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2014 10:26:48
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: Barbara Lattanzi <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Fwd: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] on interpreters and compilers
> Fork-bomb is a thing of beauty but it is not a pun. Here is a pun (at least it is in US english)...
> A duck walks into a drugstore and says, "Give me a chapstick and put it on my bill."
> It is a pun for two reasons:
> 1. It requires cross-referencing at least two unrelated lexicons of meaning.
> 2. It triggers in the brain something analogous to the computational "halting problem"...an uncomputability as to actionable meaning.
> With forkbomb, the ultimate result is measurable quantifiably (its "extensive" property of running as many times as it can).
> With the pun, the result is not quantifiable, but an "intensive" quality that can only exist at a bifurcation point of meaning. (Hamlet had a similar "intensive" problem).
> A pun presents an intensive problem of meaning to solve. But the "solution" is an endless oscillation, until a choice is made between lexicons, based on an immanent context.
> The Deleuze/DeLanda example of the material expressivity of the halting problem is the formation of a soap bubble...i.e., a thin soap film that, when presented with different air pressure on either side of its surface which has reached a critical intensity, must compute and "make a decision" as to whether/when to reach the equilibrium of a sphere.
> Extrapolating, I speculate that when we are presented with a pun, we *feel* the disequilibrium of the non-human, i.e., we feel our cognitive processes as autonomous from our sense of self. These cognitive processes have their own ways of dealing with the halting problem...oscillating for the sheer pleasure of it, and as the late Hollis Frampton said, doing so "whether we pay them any mind or not."
> Puns are every bit as computational as fork-bombs, but not the same thing.
> Barbara Lattanzi
> Associate Professor of Interactive Arts
> School of Art and Design
> NYSCC at Alfred University
> Alfred, NY USA
> On Mar 23, 2014, at 7:41 AM, "D. Neal McDonald" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> That is the first tattoo I've been tempted by in a while. Shades of
>> Obfuscated C! Unix is a pile of puns and grammar jokes like this. Laft-brain
>> puns. As it were.
>> Siri strikes me as something that could do scripting puns in a more
>> right-brain manner, like when that Scot asked for a sandwitch and she told him
>> she didn't know where to get pajamas. Programming languages are short on
>>> I have a deep and long running affection for programming puns. I'm sure most
>>> people will be aware of Jaromil's fork bomb
>>> The elegance of this one seems like the direct opposite of other kinds of
>>> programming word play (such as the ones Rob mentions below). The commonality
>>> though is in the way that they sort of duck in and out of being about
>>> performative action (as in being computational) and being a formal game.
>>> Begin forwarded message:
>>> From: Rob Myers <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
>>> Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] on interpreters and compilers
>>> Date: 22 March 2014 22:36:47 GMT
>>> <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
>>> Reply-To: Rob Myers <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>