arts \ ego blog — gibson

I went along to this year’s CCCP in a state of poetry weakness; having been out of work for eight months, unable to hear good live poets, my ability to appreciate has been unexercised. I’m poetically unfit; I need poetry listening exercise.

I’m only going to talk about one poet right now, Arthur Gibson. His recital, with no notes, was a brilliant poem lecture; no tripping up, no hesitation, just a word perfect critique of the foundations of contemporary philosophy.

The poetry was excellent, the content enthralling. Now, be warned: it’s very probable my ignorance of the subject means I’ve completely misunderstood his arguments.

What I understood him to say was the fundamentals of mathematics and logic cannot be defined in terms of mathematics and logic. ‘Normal’ language is used. Since all of mathematics and logic is built on these foundations, then the limits of mathematics and logic might be a consequence of these definitions. Since we have to use ‘normal’ language to describe them, we should use the very best such language, and that very best language is poetry. Use poetry, and maybe we can refine those limits.

Ok, now for my understanding of the possible consequences of Gibson’s words. Consider one such limit on mathematics, Gödel’s theorum, which puts hard limits on self–referencing in mathematics and logic. This theory is connected to Alan Turing’s work, who proved that computer programs cannot prove themselves correct. If computer programs could be proved correct, they’d work one hell of a lot better than they do now.

So perhaps, just perhaps, if someone can write a brilliant poetic description of one, then ten years later computer software will stop crashing!

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