Oktober


Bloedrode bladeren in de vorst
Zo is de winter te bevechten
En bemoedigt aller eeuwige dorst
Om twee harten te vervlechten

Mijn bekleedt land rood vergeeld
Maakt de aarde deugdzaam sober
Met vallende kleuren zacht bespeelt
Droomt de herfstspreker in oktober

Zoals alle bloemen die verflensen
Lovend lieflijk en ontroerd
Zou ik verlangend alles wensen
In haar boezem meegevoerd

– Willem Etsenmaker

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You Told a Lie


‘Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple, and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement, inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts, insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated, is such as to cause epistemological problems, of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.’

– Lynn J., Jay A. 1986. The Complete Yes Prime Minister London, Great Britain: BBC Books (1989) p. 409

Conceptual Blending


Conceptual Blending or Conceptual Integration is a general theory of cognition. According to this theory, elements and vital relations from diverse scenarios are blended in a subconscious process known as Conceptual Blending, which is assumed to be ubiquitous to everyday thought and language.

Possible Structure of Blending Theory

Insights obtained from these blends constitute the products of creative thinking, though conceptual blending theory is not itself a theory of creativity, inasmuch as it does not illuminate the issue of where the inputs to a blend actually come from. Blending theory does provide a rich terminology for describing the creative products of others, but has little to say on the inspiration that serves as the starting point for each blend.

The development of this theory began in 1993 and a representative early formulation is found in their online article Conceptual Integration and Formal Expression. Scholars had identified a common pattern in creative achievements in the arts, sciences and humour that he had termed bisociation of matrices – a notion he described with many striking examples, but have not formalized in algorithmic terms.

The Conceptual Blending theory is also not formalized at the level of algorithmic detail, but its various optimality principles provide some guidance for those building computational models.

Hypochondriasis or Hypochondria


Hypochondriasis or hypochondria – sometimes referred to as health phobia or health anxiety – refers to excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness.

An individual suffering from hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs become unduly alarmed about any physical symptoms they detect, no matter how minor the symptom may be. They are convinced that they have or are about to have a serious illness.

Often, hypochondria persists even after a physician has evaluated a person and reassured them that their concerns about symptoms do not have an underlying medical basis or, if there is a medical illness, their concerns are far in excess of what is appropriate for the level of disease. Many hypochondriacs focus on a particular symptom as the catalyst of their worrying, such as gastro-intestinal problems, palpitations, or muscle fatigue. The duration of these symptoms and preoccupation is 6 months or longer.

The DSM-IV-TR defines this disorder, Hypochondriasis, as a somatoform disorder and one study has shown it to affect about 3% of the visitors to primary care settings.

Hypochondria is often characterized by fears that minor bodily symptoms may indicate a serious illness, constant self-examination and self-diagnosis, and a preoccupation with one’s body. Many individuals with hypochondriasis express doubt and disbelief in the doctors’ diagnosis, and report that doctors’ reassurance about an absence of a serious medical condition is unconvincing, or un-lasting. Additionally, many hypochondriacs experience elevated blood pressure, stress, and anxiety in the presence of doctors or while occupying a medical facility, a condition known as ‘white coat syndrome.’

Many hypochondriacs require constant reassurance, either from doctors, family, or friends, and the disorder can become a disabling torment for the individual with hypochondriasis, as well as his or her family and friends. Some hypochondriacal individuals completely avoid any reminder of illness, whereas others frequently visit doctors’ offices. Other hypochondriacs will never speak about their terror, convinced that their fear of having a serious illness will not be taken seriously by those in whom they confide.

The DSM-IV defines hypochondriasis according to the following criteria:

A. Preoccupation with fears of having, or the idea that one has, a serious disease based on the person’s misinterpretation of bodily symptoms.

B. The preoccupation persists despite appropriate medical evaluation and reassurance.

C. The belief in Criterion A is not of delusional intensity – as in Delusional Disorder, Somatic Type – and is not restricted to a circumscribed concern about appearance, as in Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

D. The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

E. The duration of the disturbance is at least 6 months.

F. The preoccupation is not better accounted for by Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, a Major Depressive Episode, Separation Anxiety, or another Somatoform Disorder.

Counterintuitive


The word counterintuitive literally means counter to intuition, and so it essentially means that something does not seem right or correct.

A counterintuitive proposition is one that does not seem likely to be true when assessed using intuition or gut feelings.

Scientifically discovered, objective truths are often called counterintuitive when intuition, emotions, and other cognitive processes outside of deductive rationality interpret them to be wrong. However, the subjective nature of intuition limits the objectivity of what to call counterintuitive because what is counter-intuitive for one may be intuitive for another. This might occur in instances where intuition changes with knowledge. For instance, many aspects of quantum mechanics may sound counterintuitive to a layman, while they may be intuitive to a particle physicist.

Flawed understanding of a problem may lead to counter-productive behaviour with undesirable outcomes. In some such cases, counterintuitive policies may then produce a more desirable outcome. For example, a policy of catching large fish and throwing back small ones may be counter-productive. In response to that policy, evolutionary pressure may select for small fish. A counterintuitive improvement may be to catch only medium sized fish, leaving the biggest free to breed, creating evolutionary pressure for fish to grow quickly through the medium size.

The Tempest (act IV scene i)


Prospero [To Ferdinand.]

‘(…) Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. (…)’

– Reed International Books Ltd. 1992. The Illustrated Stratford Shakespeare London, Great Britain: Chancellor Press (1996) p. 25