Word on words, and the self referencing conundrum.
Words themselves are representative, they represent something in our minds. We can talk about the being, happening and doing of things, because that’s what our nouns, adjectives and verbs refer to. Words render our world into representational walls, we wonder around and wonder at, within our reality.
It is Plato’s cave, of the Greek philosopher who’s Forms and Ideas were said to be the basis to what we observe in “our” reality. We, as self or identity, think and talk (with words) about the shadows on the walls of his cave. The shadows themselves are representations of things. Our words then, are representative of representations.
Rather than refer to the thing they represent, words that refer to themselves or “self-reference” can be a problem, in our mind. “This statement is false” is the classic example of the self-referential paradox in a sentence. It carries a contradiction, as most examples usually do, where it can never be true because the sentence says it “is false” which keeps us bound to the sentence, self referencing, rather than from the sentence, referring beyond it.
Self-referencing alone, even without a perplexing contradiction, can still give the same paradox. For example, “This refers to the word, this” or “to you, reading or to me typing, these words”. Left unresolved is, our having engaged with words in the first place. It exposes the expectation that, in communicating and expressing, a sentence should refer to things other than, what is in the sentence. This expectation may vary with cultures, languages and situation, but it may be universal of putting things to words that, sentences should refer to what their words represent.
All our stories can be seen to be circular and self referential : “Before paradox, we reflect, what is represented in our reality. Of conscious experience, as self or identity, we are held between incomplete bubbles. Gingerly balanced our inner and outer worlds, their shells we straddle, mush. In dribs and drabs we dabble and dribble, learn to babble and spit out words, and live in them words. A loose twist and loop noose our circularity as one of our many, of many more.”
Something of the very nature of our reality is indicated by the paradox of self-referential sentences. The paradox itself penetrates beyond words in our reality, towards our self, if we let it. But sometimes it just hits us. Comedy shares something of this, 3-dimensional, self approaching and exposing complexity and substance, chaos and uncertainty.
Some how, we are waiting for more or what’s next, to be woken up to our rest; to more of us, as self or identity, and more of our reality – we are reminded from our left field, behind, beyond, within or underneath it all.
Compared to the paradox from words in a sentence, to reference or refer to our self is, a deeper and more immediate concern, for us, a “self referencing conundrum” (https://realityhc.wordpress), if I may coin a phrase.
Try for your self, “Experience your self”.
Impossible? Images of a dog running around after its tail, or a snake trying to swallow its own tail, may apply.
We are a part, of an apparatus for having an experience.
Like a camera that cannot turn back on itself to take a picture of itself, and like its film, that in capturing an image, is “reflective” of what is directly in front of the focusing lens, it seems we cannot experience our self – only of “other than self” can we experience or directly reflect or be reflective with.
No problem with entertaining a notion or concept of the self, and experiencing a sense of self. But with our “actual” self however, there’s an inherent resistance to approaching and experiencing our self in the “usual” way we consider “direct”.
We cannot see our self, only others. From where we face the world we may see, and determine, we extend uncertainty all the way, beyond context, down to the emptiness of our alone or existential in depths, or being the one centre of a vague universe at our beginning or solipsistic end. What is self? What is anything? Where am I?
Word 3 – to follow …