Festina Lente: Aller Anfang ist schwer

The above means “Festooning through Lent: Going to China is [illegible].”

Yes, interpretation is a swanky affair.  It is an integral part of daily life, although I am not sweating over it, except when snagged.  When I was learning English, which happened in Japan while I was teaching it, Benazir Bhutto came to town and gave a speech.  She used the word “challenge” twice in every sentence, and I didn’t know what she meant, although I checked my English-Bulgarian dictionary about 1500 times during the speech and after.  For a very long time, I thought “challenge” was a kind of exotic snail – don’t ask me why. 

Figuring out puzzles is fun, but I have to have at least some idea where I am going – which is not exactly the case with the Wikepidia excerpt below:

The primary intuition behind the ART model is that object identification and recognition generally occur as a result of the interaction of ‘top-down’ observer expectations with ‘bottom-up’ sensory information. The model postulates that ‘top-down’ expectations take the form of a memory template or prototype that is then compared with the actual features of an object as detected by the senses. This comparison gives rise to a measure of category belongingness. As long as this difference between sensation and expectation does not exceed a set threshold called the ‘vigilance parameter’, the sensed object will be considered a member of the expected class.

ART stands for Adaptive Resonance Theory, which is of great interest to me and which, from what I understand, deals with the convoluted ways we process and retain (or fail to retain) new information.  I wanted to use this theory in a post on memory (another of my great interests), but the process of sorting it out drags on and on.  The reason I wanted it is that ART seems to address learning hiccups.  If any of you bleaders know something about ART, please explain it slowly and patiently, without the use of foreign tongues, preferably in the following format:

“As mammals, all tigers are animals.”

Actually, don’t use that format.  Go even slower: all tigers are mammals, and since all mammals are animals, tigers must be animals too.  Syllogisms are a great source of clarity and understanding.

Speaking of syllogisms, I haven’t seen anyone use them in their full form in everyday speech, except as jokes.  Isn’t that amazing?  Here is one common type:

All jackasses have long ears.
Darth is a jackass.
Therefore, Darth has long ears.*

*Some people (whose names shall remain unmentioned) relish equivocations and expect me to laugh in appreciation every time they come up with one. 

Now on to 24.  I am a devoted fan, and tonight is The Grand Finale…


6 thoughts on “Festina Lente: Aller Anfang ist schwer

  1. Jack Bayer, who never eats, survived the CHALLENGE. All his Enemies looked like Evil Terrapins, including President Taylor, while she was under Logan’s spell. Jack Bauer himself looks like terrapin, but it is because he is played by Kiefer.

  2. Jack kept the free world free for 8 years. Now he’s forced to leave the USA – ironic, after all he’s done for us (and the free world). Like Themistocles after all he did for Athens, he’s a fugitive – hunted by the West and the Russians. I hope the middle east is grateful to him and makes him a Wazir or Caliph … maybe he’ll marry Dallia Hasan and teach those middle easterners how to fight without blowing themselves up.
    We’ll miss you, Jack; thank you.

    1. I wonder if your expertise in dead-languages is transferable to body language. Maybe those corpses have something to tell us and the forensics team could use your services. Cal Lightman could read the lively ones and you take over when he can’t find a micro-expression.

      More seriously, do you think body language has a grammar? Assuming body language isn’t intentional, I should think it does not (whereas, an intentional body language would).

      1. Oh the morbidity. But yes,the term grammar has been applied to body language (http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/search/article/806182/books-three-kind-grammar-body-language/).

        Have you read Joe Navarro’s book called “What Every Body Is Saying?” I love it – especially what he says about not assuming automatically that lying is evident if the person doesn’t look you in the eye. Take everything in context, he says, which I read as “pay attention to syntax.”

        Joe Navarro is a non-native speaker who had to develop body language proficiency as an aid to understanding verbal language. He ended as a superb FBI agent. Do not focus on the face so much, he says – people are trained from childhood to disguise their facial impressions. Watch for hand and leg responses to mental irritation.

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