Ian Patrick Badtrousers

003 Between iota and void

This note deals primarily with the first two propositions of Logos specification.

Everything is either void, which is the infinitely large (infinity at it’s finest, you can think of it as absence of definition), some thing which is precisely not void—iota, the infinitely small (a notion of distinction, the presence of definition), and everything in-between.

Although that’s all that has to be said on the subject, I will attempt to explain why it’s first and foremost the logos way of dealing with complicated matters. And no, it’s not going to be some perverted quantum types of an idea, like it’s a superposition of types until it’s computed, then it’s all realised, which would instantly make perfectly ugly jerking material for /r/pcj, and while I would want that… By the way, let me tell you this. I was once or twice accused on that subreddit, and it’s pretty much an ironic mirror of /r/programming with its own folklore, etc. I was accused of what’s called “self-jerking” there, and it’s not even a rule. First of all, and this will be highly dialectical of me to say, the circlejerk subreddit is much more compos mentis, right in the head if you will, than the one it mocks. Of course, in the modern day it’s hardly a surprise, considering how common this signature dialectical change of wind, whence the subject is substituted by its opposite. In this case a community on Reddit was meant to deconstruct the values of the original subreddit, but for me, and I believe many, it actually ended up substituting the very function /r/programming claims to provide. So I do post my own blogs to /r/pcj sometimes. And this will be highly metamodern of me to say, but I do believe that whilst irony is the most sincere device that there is, this also makes self-jerking the most honest form of self-promotion. Whereas in regular spaces, promoting would require to carefully tailor message to the agenda, /r/pcj allows to go straight for the critique, and I like to keep that in mind when writing.

In the recent essays I often utter the magical words:

// 1. Void manifests itself.

This is the first proposition in the specification of logos. As there has to be a way of saying something, there also has to be a way of saying nothing. void is defined by every possibility of every possible definition. If Wittgenstein was given what he asked for (in TLP 4.51), it would have been a void, but it wouldn’t be given to him per se, but rather naturally manifest itself from the use of language.

Void-proposition is not very interesting in itself. You can’t go very far with it at defining significant propositions, or I guess you should say you can only go too far with it at defining things, to the point there’s no definition at all. Something useful for a definition would be some notion of distinction, which would have to be derived from the totality of all propositions that make up void. Then, I ask: what is the meaning of not void? One could make an argument such as “if void is the totality of definitions, then not void is the absence of definition”, but ultimately if this was true, it would have to make not void the same as void, constituting an obvious contradiction. The opposite of the infinitely large is the infinitely small, and as all elementary propositions do, it does not contradict anything, e.g. void and not void yields true, as void-proposition (everything) kind of already includes nothing. The notion of distinction shows itself in the grammar of not void: something is the case that is not something else. Herein lays the second proposition:

// 2. Iota is an intangible particle, a form distinguished from void.
// Whilst void is the infinitely large, which is the totality of all
// possible propositions, iota is the infinitely small. And that is
// a single definition, correspondingly.
// Iota signifies a meaning, void a lack thereof.
iota := not void.

The proposition above is a saying, which is read as ‘what can be said about <iota> is that it’s <not void>.’

While void does indeed manifests itself, it’s the only proposition with such superability; others must obey the syntax of definition, and a saying is a kind of definition. In this case, the very first proposition of all, iota is being defined. All the possible definitions that there are can be traced to it. Philosophically, iota itself formulates how symbols can be different, thereby introducing the semantics of both saying := and showing ::. Perhaps I could be guilty of misappropriating Wittgenstein’s concepts here, but as long as I’m concerned, this use is perfectly valid.

If you were familiar with the specification, you would by now see the logical form of not p is generally recognised by syntax. For example, you can look in section 8. where the definition of else-proposition has not p to the left of the implication sign. On the left to logical implication, booleans and the basic logical propositions are allowed only, along with the propositions such as void and iota. This is not a coincidence: void and iota are special in that despite defining sense of propositions, they also can signify to whether a certain proposition has meaning (is iota) or lacks it (is void).

Symbol := int.

if Symbol is void, then Symbol = 2!
if Symbol is iota, then Symbol = Symbol + 2!
if Symbol = 4, then panic! // will panic! 

This is important to understand why panic! is the way it is:

// 7. Panic is a proposition that renders discourse meaningless.
// It's defined via an assertion, which form is logically correct,
// yet completely nonsensical, therefore contradictory.
// When contradiction arise during a reading, they instantly
// compromise the discourse, rendering it completely meaningless.
panic! :=
	iota = void!

First thing to notice is that panic! is an imperative proposition, you can tell this by the look of an exclamation sign in its proposition–form. It’s an imperative because it intends to transform: mutate the meaning of discourse. This is usually achieved with the <symbol> = <value>! (assertion) grammar, where the possibility <value> of proposition <symbol> is asserted to be the case. Although the assertion in panic! does indeed have a legitimate logical form, it attempts to do nonsense. While in logos you can say nonsense sometimes, you certainly can’t do it.

After any panic occurs, the text is discarded on the spot and read no more.


Void only exists to define the syntaxic structure of iota, which is the foundation of all distinction in logos, starting with the indication of proposition having meaning (also known as value), or lack thereof, achieved by either saying, or showing: two possible ways of stating sense of propositions in logos.

Wednesday, 02 Oct 2019