Roaming through contexts with Roam: Self-reference

It was early November 2020. I escaped for a long weekend to Tenerife where I played tennis for the last time of what turned out to be a 5-month ban back in Belgium. It was over 20°C and sunny, two more things I was going to miss in the long winter of the second lockdown.

I’d been working since dawn on a big terrace overlooking the ocean.

It was a magical moment to see how the ocean emerged out of nothing, made all the more special by its synchronicity with my thoughts. I was writing a chapter note on George Spencer-Brown (GSB) for Essential Balances which was to be published a few weeks later. For it was GSB who showed mathematically how everything can come into being out of nothing.

All I teach is the consequences of there being nothing. The perennial mistake of western philosophers has been to suppose, with no justification whatever, that nothing cannot have any consequences. On the contrary: not only it can: it must. And one of the consequences of there being nothing is the inevitable appearance of “all this”.

Now, a few hours later, I was immersed in work when I got interrupted by some birds’ cries. I lifted my eyes from the screen of my laptop and saw a couple of colourful parakeets that have just alighted in the palm tree in front of the terrace. But they did not hold my attention long. What did, was not an exotic island bird but a boring city one that landed on the corner cap of the railing and posed in a way making the flat cap look like a pedestal. It was then when I remembered I started writing a series of posts about Roam, published two of them, the next one to write being about self-reference. I took a photo of the bird, noted in Roam what it looked like to me, and posted this tweet:

Indeed it’s high time for another Roamantic entry. This is the third instalment in a series of five. The first part was about what is Roam likeThe second was about the powerful concept of distinction, based on George Spencer-Brown’s Laws of Form. And it was the rigorous study of distinction that led George-Spencer brown embrace what was treated as an error by the western1That wasn’t the case in the East. See for example the logical system Catuṣkoṭi. philosophers and mathematicians before him − self-reference. Continue reading