Two of my favorite attributes of our species are:

1) Pattern recognition where no pattern exists

2) Self-reference

1) Stare into a TV that is ``tuned'' to no station. That is, the screen is filled with gray amorphous static and the sound being produced is white noise static. Stare for a while, looking for a big circle near the center of the screen. If you think real hard about that circle, you'll see it after a while. Then listen for the murmuring of distant voices. Pretty soon you'll be seeing human forms too. Eventually everything will coalesce into a rerun of Gilligan's island. The one where Gilligan sees a man in the forest, but when Gilligan fetches the Skipper and the Professor, the man is gone.

Academics as well as just about everything else is based on pattern recognition. The respect for academics is based on the belief that there really are patterns to recognize.

2) Self-reference starts with the ego and extends to the first person. I like it because a sign can wrap around itself and be its own context. Like candy packaged in edible rice paper.

Just pop it in your mouth.

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