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VMs: Re: VMS rant
My two (euro) cents' worth [*]:
Ciphers and codes serve two practical functions:
(1) to exclude outsiders
(2) in include insiders
However, I think it's important to understand that this inclusion and
exclusion is not just *technological* but also *social* - only members of
our gang know the secret password (etc).
When discussing the VMS, the words and terminology we casually throw around -
gallows characters, maiolica, kabbalah, almanacke, astrological
determinism, entropy, merlons, demilunes, matrix, albarelli,
inverse spiral, Dioscorides, finials, zodiac man, uroscopy,
volvelles, vinci, nymphs, filaretian, (need I go on?)
- form a dense codebook that I'm sure can be quite intimidating to
outsiders (and indeed probably to more insiders and lurkers than would be
willing to openly admit it).
And beneath all of these writhing details and parallels is a single,
primary source, whose contents seem to perpetually balance on a razor-thin
edge between signal and noise, between sense and nonsense, between real and
The problem is that, to the extent that we are a *community* united by a
common goal, we have two (often conflicting) priorities:
(1) specialisation - searching out more detailed information, through
cross-reference & analysis
(2) generalisation - making the insights and observations (from (1))
accessible to all
Clearly, the more specialised our research becomes, the more difficult it
well be to reconcile these two - and to the degree that Voynichology is an
*accumulative endeavour*, this is probably inevitable.
In view of this long-term downward slope, perhaps we should consider some
kind of collaborational / technological solution, so that we can continue
to accumulate ideas in a useful way - kind of like an online Voynich
dictionary / encyclopaedia that we can (all) constantly add to.
To a certain degree, all I'm really describing is a usable index to both
the mailing list archive and the EVT file (can I be the only person here
that uses grep to search both of these?) plus perhaps a VMS
mini-encyclopaedia ("Voynopaedia"?) that we can grow.
I'm sure this would be valuable in its own right, and we could add further
useful layers of functionality and referentiality as we think of them.
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
[*] ...a little less than two (US) cents last time I looked. :-)