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VMs: VM: The great frustration (was VM: Voynich as Divine Comedy)

Hello to the list,

> _Can_ your theory be falsified? If not, it's worthless.*)

of course all the theories could be falsified, if we were able to read /
decipher / translate the "text" of the VMs. ;-)

But: after many years of research nobody knows what the VMs is about.

There is a "text", apparently written by a fast and trained hand without
interruptions caused by complex encipherment calculations - and this
"text" is unreadable. But the "text" obviously looks like written "for
reading", not like written "for deciphering".  We all can not explain
it, and we do not know for sure that there is a "meaning" of the "text".

There are really weird illustrations. The astrological / cosmological
drawings looks similar to other medialval astrological / cosmological
drawings at the first sight - but also different enough to cause lots of
confusion in interpreting them. So these drawings do not help us
understanding the meaning of the "text" or even the "meaning" of the

The herbal / pharmaceutical illustrations looks familar - at the first
sight. But none of the plants can be identified for sure, which is
strange, and many of the plants looks a little bit to phantastic as
someone would expect in drawings of real plants, growing on the face of
the earth. They does not help us in understanding the "text" - and I
think, all these drawings are a kind of cipher too...

The biological illustrations are the strangest thing I'd ever seen. A
"biological" page was my first impression of the VMs, I saw it (six
months ago) in the august 1993 issue of "Spektrum der Wissenschaft",
which is the german Scientific American. I thought something like: "It
must be a fake. This can not be the work of a medieval artist." I was
confused, and I googled for more information. I saw the other folios,
and I thought something like "It looks authentic, it is a mediaval Ms,
and it can not be (too) hard to read..." The VMs has drawn me to itself
and I began to listen to its strange message.

Now I have got a transcription, some self-written perl programs for the
"text" and enough confusion for the next twenty years. Some of my
friends think I became crazy...

I downloaded the whole archive of the mailing list to avoid "reinventing
the wheel". Reading in the archive, I had to realize the huge amount of
analysis done so far, revealing many strange properties of the "text",
and that all the analysis does not help anyone in "understanding" the

Many, perhaps most, of the "hard" or "falsifiable" facts are known after
some decades of great research, and the "meaning" of the VMs is still
unknown. That's the "great frustration" in analyzing the VMs.

So, many people in the list take a look on the "less hard", "softer" and
"more speculative" stuff at the moment, led by the more or less obvious
similarities between the illustrations and medieval science (in the
context of the medieval paradigms, astrology, alchemy and even occultism
were real science) or other medieval documents. It does not help us to
decipher a single word, it tends to be a private discussion of two or
three people following a very specific hypothesis in front of an
audience of hundreds (or thousends, I do not know) of list members,
which often can not see the relatedness to the list topic (the VMs)
after some of these postings and "feel" them as off-topic.

But these postings are not really off-topic, they are an expression of
the "great frustration". Most people which spent their time on
"understanding the VMs" do not want to say "All my research is a dead
end. I give up.", and many ways of "making sense from the unknown" are
gone. It is a sign of the discussion's quality, that I must not read
nonsense like the "UFO hypothesis" in the last few months - the
assumption of a contact with an extraterrestial civilisation could
explain everything, and so, it couldn't explain anything.

In this situation, the (from my point of view: very interesting) posting
of Ronald Lorenzo was "salt in the wounds", and the first (a little
over-) emotional reactions like "postmodern bubble" or "I want what he's
smoking" shows a lot of the "great frustration". Okay, it was an
off-topic post in the sense that it does not help us understanding the
VMs. But _this_ topic is totally lost at the moment.

At the moment it is hard for me to follow the discussions on the list. I
am a native speaker of the German language, and I read and write English
approx. 10 times slower than German (and I can read English much easier
than expressing my own thoughts in English). The very specific thread
about astrology, the "goats or sheep" discussion, the whole "flat /
spherical earth" talk - all this is more a sign of the (by me
postulated) "great frustration" than helpful in "understanding" the VMs.
For me it is just a kind of "noise", which I have to filter while I want
to listen to a "signal"; and filtering the "noise" means reading the
daily amount of mails and looking for "signals"...

I do not want to unsubscribe. This mailing list is the only way of being
"up to date" and helps me to avoid "reinventing the wheel" in my own
little research. But it would be better - probably not only to me - if
there were more "signal" and less "noise". In the actual "great
frustration", a better "signal-noise ratio" would also mean: more
(frustrating / frustrated) silence on the list.

If someone has an idea, this list is a good place to find other
researchers. If two or three people do their research, this list is
_not_ a good place for their communication. But the list is a good place
to bring (even partial) results of such research to an interested public
for futher discussion. Without a minimum of discipline, we will never go
beyond the "great frustration".

Michael Winkelmann

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