12.9.2021 – people are trapped

people are trapped
in impossible, yet still strangely
plausible problems


It’s all about perspective.

In the old TV Show, Barney Miller, NYPD Police Captain Barney Miller’s reoccurring lecture to the people who passed through the police station focused on “not losing one’s perspective.”

The theme was so familiar that it led to this exchange …

Detective Ron Harris : Barney, his wife has decided not to press charges, so I let him go after giving him that spiel you always give about “not losing one’s perspective.”
Captain Barney Miller : I’m … flattered that you chose to use it.
Detective Ron Harris : Well, I thought it oughta be in the public domain by now

I found the words for today’s Hiaku in the article, From snubbing Mick Jagger to explaining the cosmos: the secret life of MC Escher and his impossible worlds by Jonathan Jones in the Guardian today.

The article is a review of the just-released Kaleidocycles, a book that according to the review, lets you make paper cut outs of MC Escher paintings.

Mr. Jones wrote:

You are walking up a staircase that winds up to the top of a tall square tower.

It ascends one side, then the next, then the next – and then suddenly you are right back where you started.

This is the kind of problem people who are trapped in the geometrically impossible, yet still strangely plausible, worlds of MC Escher have to deal with all the time. ‘

In his mind-boggling creations, dimensions collide and normality dissolves.

Somewhere in the years at Crestview Elementary school in Grand Rapids, Michigan where I grew up, one of our text books had the MC Escher painting, Which way up?

Maybe it wasn’t in a text book but in a book from our library.

I remember looking at this picture over and over again.

I would trace the steps with my finger tips.

I would think this is so cool.

I would think this is so nutz!

In my mind I can remember standing at someone’s desk, looking down at the book along with both hands on the pages of the book to hold it as flat as possible.

What I was looking at wasn’t possible?

Was it?

I understood perspective a little.

I covered most of my school work and the margins of my textbooks with doodles of a 3D cube.

Did the cube go up and to the left or go down to the right?

Both impossible, yet still strangely plausible


Keep ones’ perspective.

Don’t lose your perspective.

But from where I stand … so many problems today are a problem of perspective and most of these problems are both impossible, yet still strangely plausible.

On the one hand, (saying this without judgment either way okay?) we have a feller who ran for the office of President of the United States and by all accounts this feller lost.

But this feller will not accept this and many people cannot understand his perspective.

If one reads, and it seems like I have read them all, the ‘inside’ accounts of the election, no one and I MEAN NO ONE, dared tell this feller he was losing.

Throughout election night and the next days as votes were counted, no one, and I MEAN NO ONE, dared this feller he did not win.

To this day, this feller cannot admit the he did not win.

Other feelings aside, at this point, I find it hard to blame him as his reasonings, from his perspective, are strangely plausible.

I cannot say that had I been in the his place, based on the information he received, that I would feel any different.

AGAIN, and this is important, I am treating this as a laboratory case to examine the perspective of one individual and to comment on that individuals’ perspective based on the information received by that individual ASIDE from the body of work produced by this individual.

All I am saying is I can see his point, as it were.

This world’s history is filled, littered, with folks who only got the information they wanted to hear from their entourage and most likely never did accept that their information was wrong.

Often I come back to John F. Kennedy and the criticism he got for appointing his little brother Bobby, Attorney General of the Untitled States.

RFK was 35 without much experience to which JFK said, “I can’t see that it’s wrong to give him a little legal experience before he goes out to practice law.

Such was the predicted furor over the appointment that JFK said he felt like opening his door at 3AM and whispering, ‘It’s Bobby’ to the street and going back to bed.

Here is the point, when he made the appointment, JFK said something along the lines that what he needed was someone in the Cabinet that would tell him when they thought he, the President, was wrong.

JFK trusted that RFK would do that.

If you read the history of JFK’s and RFK’s discussions over the the LBJ pick for VP, I think JFK got what he wanted from RFK.

Maybe this should be made a Cabinet position.

A lifetime appointment for someone designated to tell the President when he is wrong.

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, sure.

But again, I can understand, with the team this feller had in place, this fellers perspective.

And, by the way, who wants to be the bearer of bad news?

With that in mind, if you were this feller, how cannot you want to quote Joe Jacobs out loud and say, WE WUZ ROBBED?

Richard Nixon yelled ‘WE WUZ ROBBED’ back in 1960.

The Republican Party called for a recount of votes in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois where Mr. Nixon lost by around 8,000 votes.

If I remember it correctly, it was in the book, BOSS, about Chicago’s Mayor Daley by Mike Royko, that explained how the Cook County Board of Elections managed the recount.

Mr. Royko explained that all the ballots were thrown at the ceiling.

Any ballot that stuck was considered a Republican vote.

Guess how the report came out?

Can’t you see today’s Twitter videos of this?

Mr. Nixon didn’t like it but he accepted the report.

But I digress.


So much of what is presented in the news today are impossible problems.

Impossible problems that are still strangely plausible.

They are mind-boggling creations where dimensions collide and normality dissolves.

Try to maintain one’s perspetive.

Try to follow the arguements without losing one’s perspective.

You go up one side, then the next, then the next – and then suddenly you are right back where you started.

MC Escher and his paintings.

In his mind-boggling creations, dimensions collide and normality dissolves.

Normality dissolves.

And, just for fun, remember what was said in the book Godel, Escher Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. (At least I think this is where is was said.)

“All Escher paintings,” wrote Hofstadter, “are connected from the back.”

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