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Thursday, 25 May 2017

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And an act of interpretation on the part of the receiver.

That's a fantastic quote!

In my line of work we call this abstraction. It's a real issue in problem-solving knowledge work when teams are involved. The lowest level of abstraction for us is two people at a sketchpad or whiteboard.

You get the constant triangulation of "Do you mean this?" "What about this?"

Every step away from that makes the abstraction worse. This is the reason why specifications documents for software products and projects lead to train wrecks.

I had never stopped to think about the beauty of this translation in this way until just now.

Thanks Mike.

These days I've been spending woods time and talking with two old "mountain men", men who made a significant part of their yearly income and domestic consumption from gathering, hunting, fishing and trapping. These types in the eastern WV mtns where I live are now very rare. The two are retired from it, and probably it's not possible for anyone to make a go any more.

Their paths were both dictated and chosen. Money, limited options and a love and intimacy with the woods were the first motives when they started out as boys.

A walk in the woods with one brings the place alive. They have ranged those tracts for nearly 60 years, day in, day out, pursuing the most intimate contact with plants and animals.

And their stories are loaded with imagery if you're of a certain turn of mind.

The best interpretations of the land come from love, a point of view and being on it.

I'm not sure but I believe the first one to point this out was George Steiner in his extraordinary book "After Babel: Aspects of Language and translation" (1975). After explaining it in the first chapter he concludes: "In short: inside or between languages, human communication equals translation".

"Nature doesn't look like this." Ansel Adams

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