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Re: VMs: VM: The great frustration (was VM: Voynich as Divine Comedy)
My apologies if this thought has already been discussed at some point.
Certainly I am as frustrated as anyone else on this list, but a thought has
occurred to me over the years that may be confirmed by someone with
psychiatric training - if there are any psychiatrists reading this:
In view of the fact that no other manuscript, document, or even fragment has
ever come to light that uses the same script and, presumably, the same
language(s) as the VMs, is it not possible that the work could be an example
of some sort of mental illness - a highly developed schizophrenic work based
on the dreams, visions, and hallucinations (visual and auditory) of a single
educated individual who felt compelled to record these in a language and
script that had been "revealed" to him? The phenomenon of glossolalia is
known to be symptomatic of certain mental disorders, and perhaps it could
undergo the type of organization seen in the VMs. This might also explain
the arguments that have been mooted for more than one "language" represented
in the work.
I would be most interested to find out whether the VMs has ever been seen by
someone who has a good knowledge of psychiatric history. It may be that
similar (i.e., in nature, not specific form) manuscripts have been produced
over the centuries, with similar attention to detail in terms of
illustrations and using unknown scripts. Perhaps examples can be found in
Not to be overly pessimistic, but if this suggestion were indeed the case,
then a decipherment/translation of the VMs would probably never be possible.
This, of course, would be bad news for all those who have labored aver this
manuscript, but I don't think that the possibility should be altogether
on 10/12/04 13:00, Michael Winkelmann at DasWinkelmann@xxxxxx wrote:
> 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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