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VMs: Updates and summaries
Beginning the task of re-orienting myself to where I left off, and I find when I have breaks my mind has had time to digest things and re-word them so they make a bit more sense, at least to me.
As I've gone over it several times before, I have not been so much concerned with the actual mechanism as the source for the information, and at last contact I believe we were discussing early shorthand systems. I had suggested that this one came from Cambridge, and I still maintain that view. I don't think I was very clear on what I was investigating, and I'll try to put that together in a much more coherent fashion in the future.
As much as I dislike "stroke based" transcriptions, we do have something in common, I admit, and I'll try to point that out in a much more visual way. I'll continue to use my non-mainstream notation once in awhile, as I know no other way to express these ideas, and I only hope this doesn't cause a problem, since I am not attempting to put one system of notation forward over the other, rather pointing out that two people can see the same thing in very different ways. (Ah, Voynich, how well you point to the truth of things...)
Certain early shorthand systems used a system of points and marks, sometimes set at clock-points around a letter, to indicate certain information. Others were extremely large inventories of markings, and still others were conglomerative, like the "Feare God" symbol on F57v. What I'm focusing on here is the fact that there are marks external that indicate things. The "Feare God" symbol uses a mark above to give it the specific meaning, and this particular glyph was apparently common enough to have found its way into early printed shorthand systems.
I've also tried to point out, (and the statistics tend to demonstrate), that the Voynich was written over an extended period, and the script tends to grow and change over time. Accept or not, this is my working viewpoint. This view explains why the further you go, the more weirdoes come forward.
To give some demonstration of this, I draw your attention to Folio 84r, the first one I called up from this section. To begin with, there is a word written in the blue pool at the lower left of the page. That word is "sulfer" (shades of "Bath", and a very logical explanation for the drawing).
To the text however- anything written in the typical label section I don't consider lines, so the first line starts with the body of text. Line 4, third word in, (my notation 84r.4.3), there is a hook over the letter "o" in the word "oe". Common transcription separates the two preceding words ending in "89" because they are used to the separation, but as you see, there is no separation here, which is indicative of a system, not a word form.
Anyway, we have this hook over the letter "o". Follow further, and we have something else going on in this line. 84r.4.6 and 84r.4.7 are usually transcribed as the same glyph or set of strokes, but it is obvious that two "words" written next to each other are very different. The hook in the first is written open, while the other is a teardrop. 84r.6.3, 84r.6.5, and 84r.6.7 are also obviously different. There are right hooks, center hooks, left hooks and closed hooks throughout this folio, some written next to each other, so handwriting variances don't work in this regard.
The shapes of the "8"'s are rather standard, but once in awhile you find one with a slight tail, one with an elongated tail, and one with a tail in the form of a "9". More importantly, there is an 8 at 84r.11.4 that is actually laying on its side, like an infinity symbol. "4"'s are written very common, but check out these examples - 84r.5.8 and underneath it, 84r.7.6.
This is one of those beautiful pages from when the author was very fluent in the writing, and yet he maintains these forms, many of which are very dramatic in the early sections. Even in fluent script these forms are made apparent.
I do not maintain that this is a shorthand system in any sense. I maintain rather that the text incorporates shorthand manipulation of base-characters, in the sense that the markings are often "instructional" in nature, as applied to a system of encryption. And quite honestly I am not too interested in arguing my observations ad nauseam, as I gain nothing from selling snake oil, since I don't have ego, credentials, or tenure on the line here. I simply point out that the use of these markings is apparent to ME, and leave it at that, for those interested to discuss.
The wonder of the Voynich is that it is a compilation of a set of experiences as seen through the eyes of a single individual, and that extends to its very composition and layout. It's a unique experience, unique to us because it was the unique reaction of the author, and it is our job to begin to understand the many factors that came together in this man's life and mind to bring something like this into existence.
I believe I said before that we are asking the wrong questions, and therefore receiving meaningless answers. The answer is 42, and I think after all this time we all know that, but there is the matter of the actual "question", yes? :-)
I'll leave it at that for purposes of discussion, and I frankly expect little discussion from some seasoned members, since simply asking the questions tends to cause much of our work to be thrown out and started anew. But there it is - entrenched beliefs that have led to nothing, and new questions whose answers challenge entrenched beliefs and beg for research in new directions.
I'm open to any discussion whatsoever on my ideas, but for those who wish only to argue, I direct you to http://www.alsirat.com/flame.html, where you might find rules to live by.
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