Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sometimes a Cigar

When did sometimes become 'a time' that people referred to?  Have we always had the notion of time as a precise and as a vague thing?  Sometimes means "occasionally, now and then."  It is truly a vague idea.

The expression "sometimes, always, never" refers to a man wearing a three-button blazer.  The middle button should always be fastened, the top button is up to you, but the bottom button?  Clearly it means don't even think about it. This is known as a fashion edict.  It came about with King Edward VII - the Prince of  Wales.  He was known for overeating and being overweight.  Hence the button remained unbuttoned. 

Alternately, we can explore this scientifically:   "Sometimes, often, and always:  exploring the vague meanings of frequency expressions".  Linguists are mathematicians and the article describes a two-step procedure for the numerical translation of vague linguistic terms. 

"The suggested procedure consists of empirical and model components, including (1) participants' estimates of numerical values corresponding to verbal terms and (2) modeling of the empirical data using fuzzy membership functions (MFs), respectively."  US National Library of Medicine.  

"Sometimes" is present with us in famous expressions and quotes.  It has become the handle for "life is tough"  and "what I know about life, I think."

For example:  "A question that sometimes drives me hazy:  am I or are the others crazy? - Albert Einstein

One of the first expressions that comes up in a search is:  "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" - This is attributed to Freud.  It refers to the search for significant meanings where none are to be found.  It turns out that there is no written record of Freud as the direct source of this quote.  It is considered a false quote as tracked down by QuoteInvestigator.com  Here is some of the investigation of the cigar quote in Freud's life:

"He was so addicted to smoking that he grew annoyed with men who did not smoke.  Because of this, nearly all his apostles became cigar-smokers."

Poor Freud, he seems to be attributed with excellent quotes that he didn't say. Another famous quote attributed to him:  "time spent with cats is never wasted."  But there is no evidence that he ever said this.  What he did write to a friend was:  "I, as is well known, do not like cats".

Here's another that is researched and found to be fake:

"Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility".  This expression has approximately 73,700 attributions to Freud.  It was found to be falsely attributed to him.

There are hundreds and hundreds of Freud quotes.  As I look through the list, some have the reference source, but many do not, so I wonder how many 
of these are true vs falsely attributed.   The site that investigates false quotes is Shimmer College Wiki - the Fake Quotes Project.   And here is their Facebook page.  While I've provided the links, the site is difficult to navigate in that it doesn't have a search function.  Too bad, it would be fun to know Freud's False/True score.

We have Longwood doors today - the first speaks to the mystery behind the door and the second points out the long path ahead - different stories about doors.. 

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