In preparing for this talk in the short time allotted to me, I have tried to understand my own scientifically (intellectually) based prediction on why I am here, when I had no intention of being here. In trying to write a presentation for you – out of my respect and liking for every single one of you – I have produced 11 (N) written versions. In addition to this I have a presentation 12 (N+1). In that final written version I will show that I have nothing to say, and that it may be pointles even saying it. In reaching that point where I justify saying nothing, I see that I will never reach the end of N, and hence my title N+(N+1).
In orally presenting N+(N+1), I can draw on the sum total of recorded human experience.
It starts just before the Egyptian GOD-KING Thamus warns Thoth, who invented writing, “You cannot give your readers truth -you can give only give them the semblance of truth”. I need to call on Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Voltaire, the Granth Sahib, an even the ICBN, and the experience of all my reading and writing, and all the authors I may have cited or not cited in my preparations – to say:-
It does not matter even to this audience which is special to me, what I say.
There is an enigma in Haworthia. It is represented for the umpteenth time again in Haworthiad 12.3:79. It was raised by Mr Harry Mays, who I think is a wonderful man, he does a wonderful job and I respect him deeply. He has been incredibly considerate of me, and a guiding light in my struggle to turn aggression and frustration into something meaningful.
The real enigma to me is this:-
If editors like Myron Kimnach, whom I do regard in exactly the same way as Harry Mays (I cite him only because it is evidence I have in my hand) are compelled by us to regard all ‘specialists’ opinions as equally valid and publishable, do they also mean that anyone can speak on a subject in the same way that we write and get published?
My personal opinion is that this is not correct.
TO ME – it is the same as saying please come to our party:-
“We are inviting 10 singers to sing. Each one will sing ‘There are N green bottles hanging on the wall’ for twenty minutes. When finished, we will average the bottles fallen per speaker. As a finale we will all sing together the same refrain for bar N. The mean of N”.
In terms of May’s enigma, I have no green bottles hanging on the wall which I can sing about. I said what I wanted to say in 1986.
A last piece of evidence I wanted to include (therefore a potential N+1) in earlier versions was this. It is in a paper in Bothalia 28.1:18(1998):-
“More recently two researchers working independently came to the same conclusion as us. Roberts-Reinecke (1965) in an unpublished M.Sc. thesis proposed the name Astroloba rugosa for the species, whereas Groen (1987) proposed the name A. muricata. Neither of these names have been validly published and to prevent further confusion, we decided to choose the name A. corrugata N.L. Mey & G.F.Sm. for this unnamed species.”
The enigma I see is this, how can these authors say there is confusion when in the same voice they there is no doubt whatsoever as to what Roberts-Reinecke and Groen did and intended to do. I happen to know (there is no confusion in my mind at all about it) that this friend of mine (Pandora Roberts-Reinecke) had agreed with Groen that the name muricata should be used, as her rugosa is an invalid name for this species. Saying there is confusion may be true regarding the readers out there who do not read what is written – but it invalidates these two people who have worked so hard to say something to them. The Bothalia authors also say they came to their conclusions independently, which further invalidates the others. It means that all the effort by them (Roberts-Reinecke and Groen) was absolutely useless – except that they can now be cited after the authors have discovered what they said. Perhaps the ICBN code is not wrong in anyway at all, as I COULD have suggested in my presentation Version 8? Perhaps there is something wrong with those who practise taxonomy and the nomenclature that goes with it?
I have said the same things in my preparatory manuscripts regarding Larry Leach and Col. Scott, but it could happen to anyone. While science allows us to invalidate people like this, is it worth practising science?
I must feel you have invited me to speak, but in my heart of hearts, I have to feel that my opinions really have no value. I am invalidated in the same way as people that I mention in my other prepared presentations.
There is a story in the Mahabarhata, a great epic in eastern mythology, where an elemental spirit asks a great Seer…….. “What is worth knowing?” The reply….. “The devil is cooking human beings on the huge fire of the world and its objects (species), using the fire of the sun, and is stirring them with the cradle of the months and seasons”.
Species are simply physical phenomena distributed in space and changing with time. There is a deeper purpose which is beyond the realm of the paradigm of science as we practise it, but does that mean it should be irrelevant to ‘scientists’?
I can give a definition of species which my submitted and proposed abstract N-1, entitled, “The haworthioid rocks of the Asphodelaceae”, promised. But I cannot be there to present it.
The generally accepted definition of species is the zoological one, “A group or groups of potentially interbreeding individuals”. Collins dictionary says of species, “One of the groups into which a genus can be divided” – and of genus it says, “A group which can be divided into one or more species”. The Websters dictionary adds or inserts the word, “logically”.
My definition of species is this’ “A group or groups of individuals which vary genetically and morphologically in both space and time”.
I was wrong in saying in the USA, that the species concept was a postulate of the biological sciences and we should not hijack it for lesser purposes. The name and the concept existed before Darwin and before Linnaeus. The species, and the number of species, is an intrinsic element of human consciousness. It existed in a consciousness which existed before time began, and it existed before the hypothesised ‘BIG-BANG’, or whatever other creative event the intellectual mind can imagine.
Summary and conclusion:
In numbering my presentations, and in my struggle to see what it is that I could possibly say meaningful to you, I realised that the title of my talk would be my number N+1. Every time I wrote a presentation, I wrote N+1. Therefore as the scientist that I am, I tried to be predictive and write N+1. In writing N+1, I realised that my talk will always be the mythical N+(N+1) – it exists, BUT it only exists because it is silence. I should not say anything because my science mind has determined that I have nothing to say.
Being just human, and out of my respect and affection for every single one of you, I feel compelled to honour the mistake I made of accepting an invitation to speak, when I had decided not to attend. Because actually I have nothing I wanted to or could say.
Therefore I am submitting this presentation in its written form to the University of Life, as a doctoral dissertation to fulfill the real requirements of that University.
I predicted to myself that I would be here. I did not prophecy that I would be here, and my hypothesis in version 11 of my talk entitled, “Titles of talks mutate – N+1”, that I am required to say something when in fact I am required to be silent, is true.
Socrates said of the spoken word:-
“An intelligent word graven in the soul.. can defend itself, and knows when to speak and when to be silent” – Therefore I am here when I am not here.
The title of my talk is a mathematical singularity that does not exist.
I am indebted to a my hairdresser Victoria Chernikova, for, and my wife Daphne who drew attention to:-
1997/8 Boorstin, D.J. The asking animal. P16 in, The new age of discovery. Ed. James Geary, Time Special Issue, Amsterdam.
There are many many people who have contributed greatly to this presentation. Dr P.J. Bruyns, J.D.’Kobus’ Venter, Dr John Rourke (who gave me the best advice I have have had) and Dr. Dierdre Snijman may be singled out.
Particularly significant are my wife Daphne and our children who love me, and my Master Maharaj Charan Singh Ji now deceased, who said “How can you say I am not here, when I am not here”. He was resident at Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas, in the district Punjab, India.