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07 December 2004 @ 12:45 pm

It's on the path you do not fear that the wild beast catches you.

--African Proverb

This proverb is an example of oxymoronica, a term coined by Mardy Grothe. On the tranquil, seemingly safe path, you don't expect to encounter a wild beast. Your surprise, of course, is precisely what could render you less prepared to deal with the threat.

Paradox is so powerful because it preserves the density of an idea while rendering it completely transparent. The truths that underlie our human condition seem to be formed of a symmetry that over-careful analysis destroys. Beautiful, complex abstraction can be dismantled (my doctoral dissertation is one fine, long example of this) but no sooner are the parts laid out on the table than you discover that the very act of dismantling has chased all the richness away. It's comparable to the magical universe of the dream you had last night that turns flat and mundane as soon as you try to share it.  

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