Sunday, 7 October 2007

Boils and chancres!

Over the past few days On the origin of Mind has been available as an e-book. In the vast space of the internet it has quietly slipped into the repertoire of the search engines.
Under more usual circumstances the event would have been different. How the mind works has been a conundrum for ages, and no university or institute would have missed the opportunity to ensure such a splash would have wetted the widest audience.
Not this time. No official entity whose interests could be served means effective silence. The affair with Griffith University saw to it.
The details have been presented, and the players, the background and much else besides (see the further links in the pages referred to here).
The question can be asked: How can it be that a blatant disregard for truth can be so effectively protected by a small group of individuals who have no particular status outside their professional circles?
The facts are there for all to see, whether in my own description (see above) or in the thesis itself which is kept in the University library for general perusal. Perhaps I really am incapable of parsing sentences, especially my own, and my writing ends up containing words I cannot perceive myself. Perhaps I deluded myself in thinking a certain text says one thing when everyone else would clearly recognise something else. Perhaps all this is true and the moment will come when, suitably chastised, I stand corrected. But then again, perhaps not.
Should the latter hold - and I claim it does - then for an examiner to deliberately obfuscate one's writing to suit a spurious allegation, can be seen as criminal. Add the consequences of such acts and it's easy to see why perpetrators of this kind have ended up in jail.
Moreover, if others conspire to hide such deeds, to protect them from an outsider's view, then the label 'criminal' surely applies to them as well.
So, what does that make you then, Terry Dartnall, who have refused to enter into any correspondence about this matter; what does that make you, Peter Bernus, who has tried to shift the perception into the arena of esoteric frameworks relating to thesis formats in general; and what does that make you, Ian O'Connor, who as Vice-Chancellor remains satisfied with the bland assurances of those involved - if not a criminal?
The effects of arrogant authority have been reviled throughout the ages. Why, in the 15th century Francois Villon writes in one Ballade,
In sublimate that's dangerous and gives pain,
In a live serpent's navel, horribly;
In blood that's put in bowls to dry and drain,
In barbers' shops, when the full moon is high,
Some green as chives, some black when they are dry;
In boils and chancres - tubs where nurses go
To wash their filthy nappies in a row;
In those small baths of women amorous,
(Who'll understand must first the brothels know),
May those tongues fry that once did trouble us!
Of course, these days we are much more civilised. We have lawyers to do our bidding. Speaking of which - where are they?
Ref: Francois Villon, Poems [italics 3], Everyman's Library, London, 1968, p. 111.

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