A Psychosis of the “Framework Psychosis” Framework
by Jonathan van der Meer
Center for Computational Bioinformatics and Linguistics
and Speculative Grammarian Editor-at-Large
The place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum.|
Framework Psychosis, as expertly reified by Dr. Pill (Speculative Grammarian, CLV.2), is a very useful window on the world. It provides an explanatory model of the success of the most successful frameworks, of tribalism in linguistics, and of Chomsky’s successful decades-long trivialization of performance in favor of competence.
We even use a Framework Psychosis Model as a way to filter submissions at SpecGram. However, I have to admit that we do so in a terribly inconsistent fashion. Some editors shun any hint of Framework Psychosis for fear that it lead to incoherent ramblings, while others embrace it in hopes of being first to publish The Next Big Thing.
I have noticed that Framework Psychosis is relevant outside linguistics, too. It explains the nearly inhuman single-mindedness of individuals like Edward Tufte, Jakob Nielsen, Nikola Tesla, and Joseph Stalin. It explains Google’s fetishization of “big data” and statistics, Java programmers’ obsession with “objects”, regular expressions, “free” software, copyleft, austerity economics, memetics, meta-memetics, meta-meta-memetics, metan-memetics, string theory, environmentalism, the Segway, plate tectonics, “gamification”, wars, crusades, pogroms, dictatorships, the Tea Party, and pretty much every conspiracy theory ever. The relevance of Framework Psychosis to religion is left as an exercise for the reader.
In the spirit of UXn, I sought to abstract my revelations concerning Framework Psychosis to something more general—an obsessive, zealous, self-reinforcing over-confidence in one’s ideas. I was almost ready to proclaim to the world that Framework Psychosis was in fact the greatest explanatory force in the history of science and the science of history.
Then I realized—thanks to several training courses in recognizing Framework Psychosis in authors and colleagues—that I was showing the beginning signs of psychosis concerning the explanatory power of the Framework Psychosis framework. I was on the precipice, staring into the void—and it all made so much sense.
Taking a step back, I realized that the motivation that a Framework Psychosis obsession engenders is often required to properly push the envelope—you have to believe you can radically change the world to even have a chance to put a dent in the status quo. So the fine line between genius and insanity is understandable; psychosis may not be necessary for greatness, but with a sufficiently explanatory framework, it may be sufficient.
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And so I feel that I am now standing on the knife edge between insanity and greatness. Should I commit my life to promoting Framework Psychosis as, in truth, the greatest explanatory force in the history of science and the science of history? Or should I just keep Framework Psychosis as one more Explanatory Arrow℠ in my Quiver of Rational Inquiry™? In the end, I realized that I am too lazy for real, paradigm-shifting, world-shattering, sanity-destroying, soul-shredding greatness. It’s a job for younger, bolder, more obsessive explorers lacking friends, family, or anything else to live for.
Finally, I realized that there really is nothing new under the sun. In the words of George Bernard Shaw:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
Even the Psychosis of the Framework Psychosis Framework was prefigured by Shaw. I feel a bout of Framework Flu coming on—that whole “there’s nothing new under the sun” aphorism really captures the essence of our world, does it not?—so I’m going to stop here, lay down, and take a couple of aspirin and hope this spell blows over soon.
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[Editor’s note: Our dear friend JvdM, since the writing of this piece, has been apprehended by authorities while trying to launch a rocket into space. He claimed at the time that he was trying to get out from under the sun in an effort to create something truly new. He is now resting comfortably at the Ham’ark Institute for the Endearingly Deluded, where he is said to be working on a petition to ban the use of clichés and aphorisms, world-wide, to “forestall the inevitable descent of linguistically sensitive individuals into Framework Psychosis that the memetic structures of clichés and aphorisms—the product of evolutionary honing in millions of minds and mouths—enables.” In a letter to the SpecGram Editorial Board, he has requested an indefinite leave of absence to pursue his “new life’s goal”. Of course, we denied his request, and invoked §117.MXC.42.cdviii.b of The Standard SpecGram Employment Contract©, which requires his heretical views on linguistics and everything else to be violently realigned at the SpecGram Re-Education Camp in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland—headmastered by our own Butch McBastard. We wish Jonathan a speedy and contractually-obligated recovery! —Eds.]