Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This month's word: Pataphor

Assumptions based on assumptions
The Pataphor seems to me a meeting point between Maybe Logics, Forteana, quantum physics and 'Pataphysics. It's a term coined by writer / musician Pablo Lopez for a second degree of separation beyond the metaphor.

clipped from en.wikipedia.org

As Jarry claimed that 'pataphysics existed "as far from metaphysics as metaphysics extends from regular reality," a pataphor attempts to create a figure of speech that exists as far from metaphor as metaphor exists from non-figurative language. Whereas a metaphor is the comparison of a real object or event with a seemingly unrelated subject in order to emphasize the similarities between the two, the pataphor uses the newly created metaphorical similarity as a reality with which to base itself. In going beyond mere ornamentation of the original idea, the pataphor seeks to describe a new and separate world, in which an idea or aspect has taken on a life of its own

The pataphor may also be said to function as a critical tool, describing the world of "assumptions based on assumptions," such as belief systems or rhetoric run amok.

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clipped from en.wikipedia.org


Tom and Alice stood side by side in the lunch line.


Tom and Alice stood side by side in the lunch line, two pieces on a chessboard.


Tom took a step closer to Alice and made a date for Friday night, checkmating. Rudy was furious at losing to Margaret so easily and dumped the board on the rose-colored quilt, stomping downstairs.

Thus, the pataphor has created a world where the chessboard exists, including the characters who live in that world, entirely abandoning the original context

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More on pataphors:

"So what should I believe in?"

"How much more appropriate to see our universe not as something governed by laws but as a place where anything at all can happen.
Everything that occurs on our world is exceptional, a freak accident -- gravity, matter and energy, consciousness -- only some exceptions are more common than others, a fact that doesn't speak much for them, since, at base, they aren't even exceptional exceptions! In this version of the world the trapeze artist always misses -- plans on missing, is expected to miss. Every time he falls into the net is presence is recognized on earth by showers of oohs and ahhs. Every apple that drops is another blown stunt. We see a lot of our man Gravity, and no wonder: he is a lousy flyer. He's so bad, in fact, we've mistaken his clumsiness for skill."

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The phenomena we never see are the most skillful. The ones that make lettuce grow hair, bowling bowls lose holes and turn suitcases green. They pass peacefully over our heads, falling to earth once every million years, perhaps even more rarely.

if my life until now has been maintained by accident -- it could take a long time for that accident to be reinstated.

But how are we supposed to study these exceptions? And what about these imaginary solutions?

"For physical problems we shall employ physical solutions. Pataphysicians always come equipped. And it just so happens that I have remembered to bring -- by means of our Science of 'Pataphysics --" he took something from a back pocket: "a hairpin! Now watch as I demonstrate how this instrument greatly facilitates the opening of doors."

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