Sunday, March 18, 2018

I AM THAT I AM


The doodle below is taken from my notebook. It is a quick sketch on a Post-it pasted onto a page, recording a fleeting thought that was jotted down some time ago. The cartoon incorporates a play on words, a translation and an image: the sacred and the profane. Nothing further is intended than the exposition of that playful clash between the ideas, the interpretations, and the references - the words, as English and German, and the image: the rubbish bin; the wheelie bin - ich bin. There is a joke that plays on 'wheelie' and asks: "Where have you 'really' bin?" The answer is: "I've bin in jail." Here 'bin' becomes the phonetic expression of 'been' in the same way as 'wheelie' is the spoken 'really.' The interaction has something of the duck-rabbit about it, an image that was referred to by Ludwig Wittgenstein in Philosophical Investigations - perceptual interpretations. John Berger's classic title captures the sense nicely: Ways of Seeing: maybe one should call the phenomenon involved here as Ways of Understanding?


For those wishing to follow up on the title reference, see:

I Am that I Am is the common English translation of the response that God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for his name (Exodus 3:14). It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah. Hayah means "existed" in Hebrew; ’ehyeh is the first person singular imperfect form and is usually translated in English Bibles as "I am" or "I will be" (or "I shall be"), for example, at Exodus 3:14. ’ehyeh ’ăšer ’ehyeh literally translates as "I Am Who I Am." The ancient Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 lacks a future tense such as modern English has, yet a few translations render this name as "I Will Be What I Will Be," given the context of Yahweh’s promising to be with his people through their future troubles. Both the literal present tense "I Am" and the future tense "I will be" have given rise to many attendant theological and mystical implications in Jewish tradition. However, in most English-language Bibles, in particular the King James Version, the phrase is rendered as I am that I am.

The classic duck-rabbit

Ludwig Wittgenstein

A variation on the theme


OTHER TWIN IMAGES

voussoirs logo - the meeting; the between

Young lady/old lady

Face and vista


An Escher-like illusion

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