Ludwig Passini: Roman Fish Market at Sant'Angelo in Pescheria (1863)
"EncroachingParadoxes: experiences that make absolutely no sense at first …"

Beyond the senses, we each possess layers of additional sense-like resources such as reasoning, emoting, intuiting, and others. We employ these additional "senses" to make sense of experience, though this label might misrepresent our sense-making efforts. We probably over-rely upon reasoning as the ultimate gold standard method for sense-making, though reason, innocently applied, can't always produce understanding. Even scientists claim to rely upon sixth-sensing to noodle their way into and back out of complicated analysis. Pure reason, if it exists, might not reliably produce the most believable results. Rejecting reasoning probably makes analysis worse, so we seem stuck with paradoxes whichever methods we might choose. Intuiting lacks replicable rigor and emoting seems too mercurial, though both can add insight to an inquiry.

It might be that each technique cannot avoid the critique that it lacks some essential something.
Early economists, for instance, assumed that people behave rationally when engaging in economic activity. Later ones came to wonder how it could possibly be that only when engaging in economics did people behave exclusively rationally, because, of course, they do not. This insight opened up the field to a raft of apparently wild speculations, Random-walk theories and others, which scrupulously avoided reason as the primary means for reaching economic conclusions. The field's in turmoil now, splintered into various, apparently opposing schools, each favoring what another reviles. Economists were always capable of reaching some over-simplified solution or no solution at all, EncroachingParadoxes encouraging the superficial over the more satisfying. My point being that reason could not deliver the explanation one might have hoped it would.

I don't need to be an economist to experience this effect. I'm no scientists, social or physical, but I still pride myself on how I've parsed my existence. I mostly rely upon reason to make sense, but whatever 'senses' I might employ, I believe
my conclusions eminently reasonable. You might well disagree. I mostly use my peg-legged reasoning unselfconsciously, without over-thinking, because it usually works very well for me when I use it pre-consciously. I experience some disagreements which almost inevitably baffle me, though I know for certain that not everyone could possibly follow my 'reasoning' to reach the same conclusion. Sometimes these results just add a little spice to my life without producing any actual addressable problem. Other times, they leave me feeling crazy—which I suppose I probably have always been—but not the bat-shit kind. I wonder what twisted logic might leave anyone undecided in this current election season, for instance, where the choices seem so starkly clear. On the one hand, we have an administration specializing in producing EncroachingParadoxes of every variety, as evidenced by the overwhelming aroma of three day old fish surrounding their every action. They tout real as fake and fake as real, my head reels like back when I was assigned the task of translating into a base two number system from the reliable old base ten. On the other hand, we have a proposed reliable base ten administration, with few paradoxes impending. Hmmmmm … how to chose?

My ISP changed my password without telling me, an act unthinkably beyond reason. Even their subsequent explanation made no sense to me and left me feeling only increasingly incensed, a typical response to EncroachingParadoxes. I'd admittedly constructed a house of cards but until it crumbled, I never seriously questioned the logic I'd employed to construct it. My ISP's Customer Service Center employs a different logic, one I'd never suspected even existed until it walked right over my daily routine. I lost a reliable context marker and could not return. The more I questioned, the more confused I became, strong evidence that I was experiencing EncroachingParadoxes again. I say that I try to make the most generous possible interpretations when encountering something I cannot simply reason through, but I say I do this much more than I actually do this. I seem to need to savage the experience first, as if I'd suddenly received a curse rather than a blessing, though I firmly believe that everything carries some sort of blessing within it. The blessing initially seems more than hiding, but cruel omitted instead. It takes my head a while to stumble upon any alternate 'reasoning' that might allow some acceptable sense-making to occur. Our Damned Pandemic seems of precisely this order. It made no sense why it might have visited us until it started making sense. I just couldn't appreciate it as a base ten problem and needed to reconsider it in light of something like a base -2.246 universe.

We are each reasonable people, though we each employ slightly differing senses of reason. I've been writing most of my life, largely failing to explain how I make sense of my life. Mine's not a completely logical resolution and I suspect your's isn't either. We're either spicing our existences or driving each other crazy, though I suspect a near infinite variety of other choices not yet apparent. However we might make sense, we're never immune from EncroachingParadoxes, experiences that make absolutely no sense at first before (sometimes) revealing another sense, one beyond prior reasoning.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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