Ontological weakness

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A freeze-frame that will drive you insane.

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In The Young Ones,[1] just before The Damned kicked off a boisterous rendition of their punk classic Nasty, Mike and Vyvyan agonised over their failure to get their new video recorder working. It is a parable for today’s uncertain times.

Mike: Maybe you shouldn’t have poured all of that washing-up liquid into it.
Vyvyan: It says here, “ensure machine is clean and free from dust”.
Mike: Yeah, but it don’t say “ensure machine is full of washing-up liquid”.
Vyvyan: Well, it doesn’t say “ensure machine isn’t full of washing-up liquid”.
Mike: Well, it wouldn’t would it? I mean, it doesn’t say “ensure you don’t chop up your video machine with an axe, put all the bits in a plastic bag and bung them down the lavatory.”
Vyvyan: Doesn’t it? Well maybe that’s where we’re going wrong.

A variety of flannel. These are expressions calculated to give peace of mind to those excellent fellows who struggle with the really rather easy notion that a whole is comprised of parts, and that listing the universe of all possible options is no more comprehensive than stating the universe. A fellow wracked with this might describe "the information you provide us" like so:

any and all tangible and intangible information disclosed or provided by or on behalf of you to us, whether before, on or after the effective date of this agreement and whether orally, in writing or in picture, in electronic form or by any other means in connection with the Project and including without limitation, commercial, financial, operational, technical and/or organisational information, any information relating to products, services, technologies, projects, operations, business plans and business affairs, business and product research and development, know-how, trade secrets, market opportunities, financial statements, as well as all reports, notes, analyses, compilations, forecasts, data, summaries, studies and other documents derived from, containing or otherwise reflecting such information prepared by you.”

There is a time where such uncertainly can finally be banished, it is represented in financial notation by omega (Ω), in biblical notation by the book of revelation. However appealing the idea may seem at first, the quickening is a hefty price for logicking lawyers out of existence.

Flannel suggesting profound ontological uncertainty, fear etc.


  1. The episode was Nasty, for details freaks.
  2. This is suggestive of pan-dimensional uncertainty.