Musings on Nothingness

And Some of Its Varieties

summer 2012



    How rules work









I should have liked to talk to you about encounters. I have a notion that the moment that provoked — or provokes — them is located outside time, that the shock spatters the surrounding time and space, but I may be wrong, for I want to talk about the encounters that I provoke and that I impose upon the lads in my book. Perhaps some of these moments that are set down on paper are like populous streets on whose throng my gaze happens to fall: a sweetness, a tenderness, situates them outside the moment; I am charmed and — I can’t tell why — that mob of people is balm to my eyes. I turn away, then I look again, but I no longer find either sweetness or tenderness. The street becomes dismal, like a morning of insomnia; my lucidity returns, restoring within me the poetry that the following poem had driven out: some handsome adolescent face, that I had barely caught a glimpse of, had lit up the crowd; then it had disappeared. The meaning of Heaven is no longer strange to me.

~ Jean Genet

We were shadows, shadows in what you refer to as “everyday life”: countless invisible figures you walked past in the streets. Faces that reminded you of something but you were never sure of exactly what.

~ anonymous

Abandon yourself to peace, to the point of annihilation.


I should have written nothing[1] at all, but it is far too late for that. Sin and guilt[2] have entered the world[3] never mind where from, since in any case it would do no good to close that box and I am no longer striding the crests of my dreams, filling my lungs with air and expelling it again, now instead I am manipulating the keys of a machine[4] striving to thus let my dreams pour and play out across the space of an information-obsessed plane of existence.

There exists no good reason[5] to occupy this space, especially when I have the heights and depths of life wholly available to me at any moment, and yet something compels me, God help me.[6] I have no hope that I will save anyone this way. Not even myself. I know I will not even reach to prevent the wretched[7] from abusing whatever I create. It is a fact that to take something from oneself and put it out into the world is to let it escape and become everything you didn’t want it to be. They say this is so for God the Father as for every human father. I do not believe in either one, but their stories both hold a strange beauty for me.

One can create a monster[8] or a babe; the difference is purely aesthetic. But it is this question of creation. Many simply put it aside, to their own loss. They still create things but they deny they are doing so. They are befallen by atrophy.[9] Others take on the question of creation by accepting the market assurance that whatever makes money must be good because, so the logic goes, people buy things that are good.[10] They become lost to the world of production. Others, in reaction to this, turn toward smaller and smaller circles to keep their creatures safe from the real world. But these spaces are either infected by the social disease or else suffocate for lack of oxygen.

There are some rare exceptions. No one can say where they come from. They destroy all that has come before. They blow into a dying ember. Without them there would be nothing at all.

Now, we have to say that the whole world without them would be an empty[11] dull[12] pale[13] and suffocating lifeless and deathless nothingness, and that they themselves are also a nothingness, but an ecstatic explosion of creative destructive nothingness. So it will be worth keeping in mind that there is a huge and unspeakable gap between the qualities of different sorts of nothingness. Otherwise everything will be overcome by an immense confusion.[14]

The first aspect which ensures that there is something interesting rather than nothing is the explosive energy of the sun. The second is the implosive energy of the earth. These provide for the habitation of a thin membrane where their intercourse takes place. Here there exists a tension between them. Much life forms by rebelling against being crushed into the bowels of the earth and the depths of the sea, whether this rebellion is volcanic, evaporative, or organic. Life must protect itself from being lost in the emptiness of space or scorched in the heat of the sun, and so it also flows, crumbles, burrows, glides, swims, falls and floats downward. This might be all, were it not for something else. Organization, organism, orgasm.[15]


The incredible rise of yoga[16] as a recent phenomenon among certain populations in the United States can hardly be attributed solely to a need for stress-reduction practices in an environment that is becoming increasingly stressful, nor even to hollow people’s frantic search for more authentic spiritual practices which must, as a precondition for their interest, be drawn from somewhere at least east of Constantinople. Rather, it must be seen as a physical practice which forms part of the total demand of the postmodern economy for people to become more flexible[17] in every way.

In other words, the demand of the economy is no longer that one simply conform or adapt, but even more that one takes upon oneself a dedication to the labor of becoming flexible, that one see it not as simply the necessary submission to a pressure exerted from outside but instead to act as if it would be ideal to no longer even be able to feel any externally-imposed force as such. To believe in oneself as the agent[18] of one’s own life, but to see oneself thus also as the agent of the control[19] of the same.

In this world, the static individual is the sorry loser, the irrelevant nobody because the tides shift so rapidly that it is no longer a matter of steadfastly weathering the storm nor of hurrying to keep up with the latest fashions and trends, but in actuality a spiritual, metaphysical discipline of becoming so flexible as to become the waves themselves and be washed peacefully in the sea of society.

Whenever the postmodernist speaks of becoming, not being, we must ask, “becoming what?” For, if postmodernity was birthed in the revolt of May ‘68, its maturation has been under the decades of punishment for such a transgression. And the answer will always be, in the end, becoming capital.

The challenge is not to make a staunch appeal to the past forms of life but to critique those that arise today, to refuse to presuppose their awesomeness simply from their newness.

In becoming there is always a gap between being-this and being-that. The affirmation of becoming as more fundamental than being (a la “nothing is static, that is mere myth; the essence cannot be frozen because everything is always mutable, so a thing is never itself and a being cannot identify since it will become other in the process; so becoming is primary and being is mere reduction to falsity…”), however, fills this space positively, or at least tries to incorporate an existential negativity[20] into the realm of the symbolic order, logical systems, and the functioning of the existent (which is no longer really the existent, but instead the scope of all becomings), negating its negativity by positing it as axiomatic[21] to the order of things (rather than as excluded as by the old logic-systems and ontologies), which are no longer understood as things nor necessarily ordered, but it would be absurd to expect this chiasmic flux to be anarchic when in fact it is founded upon the attempted incorporation of an ontological negativity into a system of ontological subjectivity.[22]

Yes, all becomings are being thrown under the rule of biopower, if the postmodernists have their way.

But what does this mean? Things cannot get worse, can they? It means that the unfolding of postmodern rule is a complex and systematic ruse, not a simple sovereign rule nor a dialectical machine. It is a creeping and pervasive trick that gets people going to meditation[23] classes and buying indulgences in more-ethical consumer products. It has people going on walks[24] with headphones on and into virtual[25] reality to play and socialize with their real friends. It terrorizes the population with cyborg-futures in the movies and, while the debate rages[26] on about the ethics of implanting machines in human bodies, human’s bodies already spend most of their time implanted in machines. (We could be more precise and point out that there is no resistance to but only more demand for the improvement of the interfaces between human and machine, such that as these interfaces become more streamlined, seamless and user-friendly, humans are turning into machines and machines into humans because the point of their separation which is the interface is becoming more efficient, more transparent, more permeable, less of a true separation.) And so cyborgization[27] goes on unchallenged on its course because people have no chips implanted in their body and believe that they are safe. The fear of implantation merely functioned as a distraction, propagated through the Spectacle, from the workings of the Spectacle in reality, from what it is truly effecting by means of its distracting from itself through itself. The idea is for people to see the images on the screen but never to see the screen itself nor the logic of the images’ movement and story. The answers are always right in front of you, but your perception of everything is always preventing you from truly perceiving anything at all.

I hear:

“Do you want to walk?”

“Eve, we’re going to walk.”

Right here there is a sign advising that the water is too polluted[28] to eat fish from, or even swim in. Right there is part of an infrastructural system that turns trees into commodities. At my feet is a plaque reminding park-going citizens that a major lumber company donated money to build the park.[29] Passersby talk about some gossip in a way that pretends real concern and other emotions. Why would someone say that they are appalled if they actually are? Either it’s a ruse or they have lost any meaningful way of communicating. I suppose it goes hand-in-hand to accept such platitudes and to lose the idea of what real emotions feel like, or to use referents to emotions because showing them is impolite, and then losing them in the process. How appalling.

The gossips[30] whisper when they come near as if they were talking about a real and important secret…

Earlier a grossly cheerful young woman was talking about her friend who is depressed. It goes without saying that being depressed is bad and he needs to get over it…


“Yeah, she’s so emotional sometimes!” Disapproval.

“It’s so pretty[31]… Look at the capitol over there. Wow… I wish I had my camera I could take a picture it’s so pretty.”

Flatly. Almost like she doesn’t believe what she’s saying any more. Like she might crack at any moment, lose the false appearances and unleash a flood of… well, something real, anyway. Like a dam that’s fit to burst she’s just plugging up holes and pretending. She looks at the sign that warns that the water is poisonous. She has a sick half-smile stuck to her face. Does she not see?

“This is a pretty little grass here… sea grass or something…” (referring to part of the landscaping)

“Ornamental grass?”


“The water over there is beautiful…” (the same woman who just read the sign) “…postcard or something.”

You can’t quite see the mountain because the huge barge-loading crane cuts it into thirds.

There are kids playing a game[32] of combat. The boy changes the rules on the fly. “No, you didn’t kill me, I’m invincible to bullets.” They learn quickly[33] from their parents how rules work.

“Counted my pillows and I had like 40…”

She laughs.

How rules work

Rule[34] is always arbitrary.[35] Its arbitrary nature exists beyond the question of what purpose any particular rule serves or what explanation can be given for it. Rule is its own explanation and justification,[36] founded only upon itself and the negation of its negation. The child asks “why?” and an answer may be given but this answer will meet the following “why?” until the authority figure has lost all capacity and patience, admitting that it is simply “because I said so,” to which there is no recourse. Yet power has revealed its nakedness.

The exception to the rule proves the rule. The exception has nothing to do with the negation of rule. The negation of rule is not its suspension, but rather the recognition of its nakedness. The emperor who is wearing no clothes is less laughable than the subjects who pretend he is clothed. The absurdity of the ritual carries its own destruction by destroying all who are duped into it.

The particular rule may have a reason. The critic points instead to its function, which is force. The fact remains that it is arbitrary because rule itself relies only on reason itself and force as such. To be more clear, it is arbitrary because it does not care about its own reasoning, does not care for its own reasoning, and does not measure itself by its own reasoning. Reason is merely its outgrowth, a certain manner of extending itself.

Something is arbitrary if it is based on choice or whim and not on any reason or system. So rule is both arbitrary and non-arbitrary. It is a system that is not based on a system, but is nevertheless systematic in itself; a reason that is not based on reason. What is the reason for reason? Always just because I said so.

Reason lacks playfulness with itself and with any deviations from it. It is thus both arbitrary and serious. The queer finds this funny and laughs at the rule, and the ruler, and the straight line.

There is no such thing as a straight line to be found anywhere except for one place, and that is the beautiful world of pretend known as mathematics. Once an enjoyable diversion, an amusing gamble between companions to see who could travel farthest away on a flight of fancy,[37] mathematics somehow became a serious[38] game that today imposes itself on every child as a discipline mandated by the state.

Some will object that straight lines do exist, in the things that humans make, and others will say that a sunbeam travels in a straight line, but neither assertion is true.[39] Man-made rulers and even computer-drawn lines are only crude approximations of the impeccably straight and true lines that exist only in our own minds. The sunbeam’s path is curved by, among other things, the forces of gravity and the curvature of space.

All straightness is farce,[40] more or less successful.

As mathematics has become more serious, it has manifested an overwhelming[41] and terrifying[42] desire to become more than a complex game playing[43] with numbers, a desire to produce information monsters to solve problems, and to try by all means to make the world as it understands it (a complex system of information, a large matrix of data points), and the world as it is, one and the same.

I don’t understand this.

But in any case, something has always escaped[44] it. At first, nearly everything escaped it, all that mathematics could do was try to count the grains of sand on the shore[45] until one was forced to erupt in laughter at remembering one of the simple beauties of life. But then, zero[46] was invented. This was a strange concept having to do with nothing, but what the invention of zero accomplished, completely by accident, was an incredibly fast way to express and perform calculations on numbers that were once impossibly large, too large to even conceive of. One still could not count all the grains of sand on the shore, but thought began to gradually lose its humor.[47]


What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.

~ L. Wittgenstein


1.1 The total quantity of energy in the universe is constant.

1.11 Magic[48] is a form of energy.

1.12 If magic once existed in the world, then it follows that it must still exist.

1.13 Everything tells us that magic once existed but does not anymore. So it must either be that magic still exists, or else everything is a lie.

1.14 Magic can be defined as all phenomena such as cannot be modeled through a system of mathematical functions such that the models have a reasonably strong capacity to predict the behavior of the original phenomena.

1.15 As such, all turbulent[50] phenomena (atmospheric, aquatic, mineral, animal or cosmic) are magical.

1.2 Were it not for the practice of scientific[51] inquiry, everything would be magic and nonsense.

1.21 Scientific inquiry thus has a way of making unpredictable phenomena become predictable.

1.22 The name for the way in which scientific inquiry converts the unpredictable into the predictable is seriousness.

1.23 Seriousness cannot destroy humor. Seriousness is nothing more than the lack[58] of awareness of humor, just as science is nothing but a manner of looking that overlooks magical phenomena.

1.24 Laughter always immediately destroys seriousness.

1.25 Much of laughter is silent, and much of humor is dry.

1.3 A prediction which is arrived at by means of the scientific method has a definable probability of being correct. This probability is between 0 and 1.

1.31 A prediction which is not arrived at by means of the scientific method has an undefinable probability of being correct.

1.32 If the thing predicted happens,[61] the prediction is correct, and if not then it isn’t. That’s all there is to it.


2.1 The most pressing problem in mathematics is the question of whether or not there exists a mathematical process capable of solving every mathematical problem.

2.11 Said problem has not been solved.

2.12 The second most pressing problem in mathematics is the question of whether or not there exists a mathematician capable of getting the joke.


3.1 Sexual intercourse is whatever takes place between a phallus[62] and an orifice.[63]

3.12 All intercourse takes place between a phallus and an orifice.

3.13 Therefore all intercourse is sexual intercourse.

3.14 All human intercourse is queer.[67]


4.1 All logic is phallic logic.[70]

4.11 Given that all logic is phallic, there is also an orificial counterpart to logic, namely madness.

4.12 The intercourse between logic and madness is thus heterosexual intercourse between a pure phallus and a pure orifice.

4.13 The intercourse between logic and madness is governed by logic. Madness yet has a tendency to defy every form of this governance.


5.1 Creation is never purely phallic except when it is the creation of logic.

5.11 Unconditional love[73] takes three forms. The first is the love of the creator for its creature. The second is the love of the creature for its creator. The third is the love of oneself. All other love, such as occurs between creatures, is conditional.

5.12 Always there exists a tension between the force the creator exerts and the force the creature exerts. In this tension, is not possible to not be a traitor. The only question is which kind one will be.

5.13 The creator always allows its creature an unlimited play of choices, always within limits. This is the nature of the tension which is usually understood in terms of free will and determinism.

5.14 Freedom, which is as different from choice as creating a monster is from creating a baby, is the creature’s betrayal of the creator.

5.15 The form that the creature’s betrayal of the creator takes is the denial of the creator.

5.16 The creator’s betrayal of the creation is a self-betrayal. The creature’s betrayal of the creator is a self-assertion.

5.2 When the creature sacrifices for the creator and when the creator sacrifices for the creature, what is lost is life itself. remark: The creator’s self-sacrifice is great, the creature’s self-sacrifice is small and pathetic.

5.21 Life is neither matter nor energy, therefore it can truly be lost. Its loss is death.

5.22 Redemption for such loss can only come through the greatest of sins. A betrayal.

5.3 Time[76] the experience of the tension between means and ends.

5.31 Sensual intensity finds itself close to cleanliness.

In this sense does cleanliness find itself next to godliness.

5.32 One can understand enmity as taking two forms.

The first is enmity without kinship. The second is the form that enmity takes place when two brothers find themselves on opposing sides of a war.[77]

5.33 At any given moment, there is only one thing to do that can truly be considered great.


6.1 The difficulty that exists within the sphere of computer technology as concerns issues of efficiency, random[78] data, complex algorithms, and of course the imminently important field of cryptography,[79] all comes down to the inefficiency of using a model based on pure orifices and pure phalluses to map and calculate the behavior of impure orifices and impure phalluses.

6.11 One of the most pressing tasks that society has set itself is to develop computing machines capable of manipulating non-binary and random data at rates of efficiency substantially surpassing existing technology, for cryptographic purposes.

6.12 What scientists have yet to understand is that there has never been a scientific breakthrough achieved on the basis of the scientific method.

6.2 Any statement that is true is also a truism.

6.21 By its very nature, a logical system can never consist of more than the sum of its parts and can never attain insight, properly speaking.


You have to do away with the mind, as with literature. I say the mind and life communicate at all levels.

[1] Nothing, nil, zero, naught. The Germanic root of ‘thing’ meant not an object but an appointed time. The origin of the word ‘naughty’ is parallel to, but more interesting than, that of ‘nothing.’ Its sinister meaning is related to its derivation from ‘naught,’ whose etymology (nawiht, nothing) reveals a further delight in the Old English wiht (thing, creature), of Germanic origin (still appearing, albeit very rarely, in the modern spelling ‘wight.’)

[2] ‘Sin,’ through the Germanic sense of transgression, is ultimately rooted in the sense of being true. Is this from the sense ‘he is truly be the guilty person,’ or because to be true necessitates transgression? Guilt is of unknown origin.

[3] The world, originally just the domain of ‘human existence and affairs’ or ‘humankind’ (its pre-Germanic root was literally ‘age of man:’ wer- [man, as in ‘virile’] -ald [age, as in ‘old’]), has been extended gradually include most everything, as we well know.

[4] Via a many-layered and intriguing etymology one may reach through Latin and Greek to that a machine is kind of a means for enabling one’s ability to do something.

[5] If we go back far enough to the pre-Latin we find the origin of our word ‘reason’ rests in counting things.

[6] The origin of ‘God,’ via the Germanic, means to call upon or invoke.

[7] The ‘wretch’ was once the German hero or warrior recke (Cf. ‘wreck’). It is thus a just account of the banishment and sorrow intrinsic to the hero.

[8] Of Latin origin, ‘monster’s root (monere, to warn) reminds us that misshapen animals were once regarded as foreboding omens.

[9] From the Greek atrophos (malnourished) negative of trephein (to fatten) as in trophy.

[10] It is a fact that long before ‘good’ was ever used to refer to property, it meant something with the quality of goodness, and before that it was only an adjective. Before even it took on a moral color, its Germanic root referred simply to what fit or belonged together.

[11] Empty once meant unmarried, at leisure. Literally to have not.

[12] Referring to lack of wit before taking on the sense of lacking (mental, then physical) sharpness, ‘dull’ is of a dusty pre-Germanic origin.

[13] Before it was used to distinguish between races, ‘pale’s root words refer to a lack of saturation, as in ‘pallid,’ and not to a lack of darkness. Its dullness of color could be grey, brown, white, or yellow.

[14] From the Latin confundere (to pour together).

[15] All with the same root. But of them, orgasm has the purest relation to its pre-Latin root -werg (to do, related to -wrog, urge) which is the origin of ‘work’ (Germanic), ‘energy’ (Greek), ‘urge’ (Latin), and ‘orgy.’ The original urging takes on the meaning of swelling, becoming excited, in the Greek organ, to then become orgasmos, ‘orgasm.’ The others come by way of the Latin organum (organ or instrument, as in an organ of the body’s functioning).

[16] ‘Yoga’ and ‘yoke’ are yoked together by their common root jugom (to join or unite).

[17] Flexibile derives quite naturally from a Latin root meaning to bend.

[18] Latin agentem (effective, powerful).

[19] ‘Control,’ exerting authority, derives from the Latin contrarotulus (a rotating counting device used to keep records).

[20] Latin negativus (that which says no).

[21] The Latin axioma, the founding principle, is regarded as already established. This apparently derives from its material worth, or axios, which in turn came into meaning through the development of scales to measure weight. The first part of the pre-Latin root ag-ty-o (weighty) is ag- (to move), also the root of ‘act,’ ‘action.’

[22] The subject is the one who is thrown under power, as evidenced by its Latin origin: sub- (under) -iacere (to throw).

[23] Whatever its more refined flavors, ‘meditation’s origin lies in the measures necessary for proper statecraft. It shares the same root as the Greek medon (ruler) and Latin modus (measure) from which we receive ‘mode,’ as well as the Modern English term ‘modern.’

[24] A peculiar word, ‘walk’ took on its shape from the Old English wealcan, (to toss or roll [something]). It thus shares a common root with ‘vulva’ and ‘revolve.’

[25] ‘Virtual’ comes from the Latin virtus (excellence, literally manliness), then quite inexplicably comes to mean ‘being something in fact though not in name,’ which bears absolutely no relation to its common modern sense of computer simulation.

[26] The Latin rabies (madness, fury), also the virus.

[27] ‘Cybernetic’ plus ‘organism’ becomes ‘cyborg.’ ‘Cybernetics’ was coined by the Wiener who founded it, based on a Greek word meaning ‘good at steering,’ this because cybernetics was developed to make machines better at steering, a skill once proper to humans.

[28] ‘Pollution’ was originally the discharge of semen anywhere other than its proper place, an act considered defilement.

[29] ‘Park’: an enclosure. The probable root meant the fences themselves.

[30] The Old English godsibb (godparent) was extended to any relative, especially those asked to attend a birth, then to the kind of talk engaged in by relatives or familiars, and only recently to rumor. The related ‘sibling’ has remarkably egoistic roots, as the pre-Germanic sense of kinship from which it derives refers literally to one’s own.

[31] ‘Pretty’ gets its sense from prett, meaning a trick (Germanic).

[32] ‘Game’ (and its cousin ‘gamble’) derives from pre-Germanic gamann, literally people together.

[33] Germanic, lively, from a root for living from which ‘bio-’ also comes.

[34] Closely related to ‘right,’ ‘rule’ derives from the Latin regula (a straight stick or guide) from which we also get ‘regulate.’

[35] Meaning deciding on one’s own discretion and will, ‘arbitrary’ comes from the Latin arbiter whose name conveys the fact of his coming and going (as witness or judge) — in other words, a kind of displacement inherent in the legal process.

[36] A curious concept, ‘justice’ unsurprisingly derives from a Latin concept of (especially legal) right, ius. The Old Latin ious only found its way into the common tongue by influence of the religious cults.

[37] ‘Fancy’ is a recent (six centuries back) contraction of ‘fantasy,’ whose roots have to do with picturing to oneself.

[38] Ultimately a matter of having weight, ‘serious’ has a different heavy root than ‘axiom,’ one that did not come to bear material worth.

[39] Behind the pre-Germanic sense of good faith, ‘truth’ derives from a likeness to the steadfastness of a tree (-dru, tree, as in ‘druid’).

[40] Originally to stuff, as with meat. Latin.

[41] Turning upside-down: in Middle English whelmen is to turn over.

[42] It seems that every variety of fear resonates with trembling: the ancient origin of ‘terror’ meant to shake.

[43] Once revelry, frolicking, enjoying music, from Germanic plegan.

[44] To get out of the grasp of your pusuer, quite literally leaving them with only your cape. Latin.

[45] Shore from pre-Germanic skur- (cut) related to ‘shear.’

[46] From the Arabic sifr, cipher (empty, null), from Sanskrit sunya-m meaning empty place or desert.

[47] A long and amusing path takes us to get wet. Completely aside: Per H.W. Fowler, among the eight types of humor, humor (as a subset of itself) is the one interested in discovery in the realm of human nature.

[48] ‘Magic’ sits aside the machine as a kind of power. They share the same root in their relation to the capacity to do.

[49] From the pre-Germanic ga-maid-jan (changed, abnormal), related to ‘mutate.’ The old English word of choice for madness was once ‘wood,’ an adjective of a different Germanic origin than the wood of trees. It comes from a root wet- to blow, inspire, or spiritually incite.

[50] From the Latin turba (turmoil, crowd) as in ‘disturbed.’

[51] Looking further back than the roots that deal with knowing, we find that ‘science’ derives from separation, cleaving, division, rending. In this it shares the same with ‘consciousness’ as it does with ‘shit.’

[52] ‘Stern’ is a cousin to ‘stare’ and ‘sterile,’ all from a pre-Germanic root for stiffness.

[53] The Greek khaos: the gaping abyss is vast and empty, like a yawning mouth. The sense of disorder did not arise until the modern era.

[54] Originally a mass of rock (as in ‘clod’), ‘cloud’ was extended almost a millennium ago to the things in the sky by similarity of appearance.

[55] ‘Worm,’ from Germanic meaning worm, serpent, or dragon.

[56] A ‘spot’ was once specifically a moral stain before being taken up for other uses, such as the stains left by immoral activities. Germanic.

[57] In ‘direct’ we have again a word that concerns itself with guiding or setting straight. (See ‘right,’ ‘rectum,’ ‘regulate,’ etc.)

[58] ‘Lack’s source was used to describe a just-trickling spring.

[59] In fact, certainty is, like science, based on separation.

[60] This prediction was not arrived at by means of the scientific method.

[61] ‘To happen’ once meant to occur by hap (by chance). ‘Hap,’ little used today, is of Germanic origin (chance, fate, luck).

[62] Like orgasm, it is ultimately a matter of swelling, since the phallus introduced into Greek by the cult of Dionysus that worshipped it was always erect.

[63] Via the Latin orificium, speaking of the mouth.

[64] Greek poros, also a pore, literally a passage or way.

[65] Parts of ‘fuck’s etymology read more like a detective story than scholarship, but point to the Germanic ficken (to fuck, earlier to move quickly back and forth, and earlier still to itch or scratch).

[66] From a Portuguese word for sorcery, further back in its Latin roots it refers to the act of creation.

[67] Of Germanic origin, queerness comes from being oblique or off-centered, an imperfection that can make a wheel or machine part wobble awkwardly (or interestingly). Further back in time we find this notion derives in turn from twisting and turning.

[68] ‘Hole’ has the root kel- meaning to hide, shared with ‘cell,’ ‘conceal,’ and ‘hell.’

[69] A truth can be discerned from the Germanic root of ‘straight,’ which has nothing to do with perfect lines and is all about tension. Indeed, ‘stretch’ and ‘strain’ both derive from the same point as straight.

[70] From logos (word, speaking).

[71] ‘Variety’ gets its sense from bodily variation; it is related to ‘wart.’

[72] ‘Masturbation’ is to defile oneself (stuprare, related to ‘stupor’ and ‘stupid’) by hand (manus).

[73] The impoverished Modern English has one word where it once had several. Variations of sibb (see above) covered familial affection. ‘Love’ is of Germanic stock and carries the caring and desiring aspects of love, which were distinguished in Greek between phileo (as in ‘pedophilia’) and erao (as in ‘erotic’), along with agapao (which became the out-of-use English ‘agape,’ for the Christian charity unaffected by passion; lost on the church was the irony that it comes from a root sense of desire shared by ‘whore’ and the first word of Kama Sutra) and stergo (the paternal love of the parent toward the child as well as the ruler toward the subject). Back in the Germanic lineage, ‘friend’ and ‘free’ both have their roots in an ancient idea of love.

[74] In some ancient religions, it was taboo to speak the word for horse.

[75] From the Germanic deupaz, depth’s sense of deep, hollow gave rise to the additional senses of mysterious and solemn.

[76] ‘Time,’ like science, consciousness, and shit, derives its sense from cutting, dividing, but through Germanic lines. It was originally used as a specific time, and only later abstractly for continuous duration.

[77] The Germanic relatives of ‘war’ suggest its original sense was bringing into confusion.

[78] ‘Random’ is from the Frankish root rant (running).

[79] From the Greek kryptos, hidden, and -graphy, which ultimately derives from carving or scratching in stone.

[80] Earlier forms of ‘lie’ referred to speaking untruths but also to deceit and betrayal in general.

authors’ manuscript, baedan — journal of queer nihilism, issue one