Monday 14 August 2023

Uncertain taxonomy

Down the rabbit-'oles it is. I sometimes do podcasts to lighten las obras exterior the outdoor works. Sometimes I do not do podcasts because it's better to Be in the outdoors that's in it rather than some other place with invisible people droning in the background. I have been through a good few Word of Mouths [woman- Osman] with Michael Rosen; one of which was about jail-jargon with Andy West . . . so I read his book . . . wherein he makes passing reference to Jorge Luis Borges' taxonomy of the living world.

Ah taxonomy (the practice and science of categorization or classification), I've done a bit of that because I've spent 50 years trying to make sense of God's Grandeur and his inordinate fondness for beetles. Not to claim I know anything about beetles - I was always a crap field-biologist preferring to do my research in libraries and databases.  It's nearly 50 since we had a discussion about classification sous le pont d'Avignon. The key is to give weight to fundamental and immutable over the obvious and trivial. NB such damn fool notions as over-weighting skin colour in humans to determine who goes to U San Francisco rather than San Quentin.  And "Have wings" is kinda useless because it includes wasps, fruit-bats, mansions, buzzards, 747s, football teams, dragons and angels.

I could go on . . . but I see that I've previously itemized the bins in colour (but not skin-colour!) into which Borges shoe-horned the animals which had entered his ken. Hint: wings don't count at all at all.  Borges' satirical look at natural classifications takes just about 50 palabras  - and has surely generated 55 MSc theses in the intervening years. Borges was almost always the smartest bloke in the room; so he might be worth such talmudic picking over the bones of his writings. The point is that we should all park our certainties about how the world ticks, listen to contrary, even contrarian, views and then re-make up our minds . . . tentatively with our crap-detectors tuned up to Max.

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