Philosophy Information

Nature of Visual Representation


Nature is often called "red in tooth and claw", this means covered in blood, and comes from a fairy tale called Wolfking; it is a story of times past repute with epic adventures, this quote is very much like "survival of the fittest"!

Okay, maybe that was a bit too oblique, however, there was a point to it, perhaps if I add that, an artist named Foucault once created a painting where he wrote the words "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" which is French for "This is not a pipe" under a very conformist graphic of a smoker's pipe.

It was not a pipe, it was a picture of a pipe. But, then it was also not a picture of a pipe. By writing the words (as part of the graphic) he was questioning the nature of visual representation itself! Here is a better example:

"The lady protests too much, methinks" - Queen Gertrude - Act III, Scene II.Here Queen Gertrude is making a cynical remark about her counterpart (the Player queen) in Hamlets play, a subplot within the main story.

Shakespeare seems to be making a point about the nature of humanity, that an individuals grievances are a good indication of what issues they are sensitive about, and possibly, that this sensitivity is itself a good indication of insecurity or lack of confidence.

He is saying that too much bluster on Queen Gertrude's part, where she insist so passionately as to imply the opposite, is an indication that she is taking the lines of her counterpart as a personal attack; this is psychologically valid.

However, it is equally plausible that Shakespeare simply used this to make this character seem arrogant and self-assured, but the simplest interpretation, hence the more likely possibility is that this signifies nothing, except that Gertrude thinks her counterpart talks too much.

As it turns out, these last two interpretations are not as correct as the first! However, these other possibilities are equally valid, there existence detracts nothing from the value of the discourse.

The reason for this commentary is that we will all see things differently (due to our unique set of experiences), so having a dissimilar perspective is certainly no reason to believe something is wrong with others just because they are different from your own interpretation.

This is also true of governments, and goes a long way to explaining why it is that (despite the constant changes to the health care and education systems), progress is very slow.

This is largely because they invariably dismantle perfectly good parts of these systems that worked well with no regard for the consequences, due to the fact that in their eyes, they seemed to have no function, all because they did not understand why it worked in the first place.

I am the website administrator of the Wandle industrial museum (http://www.wandle.org). Established in 1983 by local people determined to ensure that the history of the valley was no longer neglected but enhanced awareness its heritage for the use and benefits of the community.


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