What is Pataphysics?



Pataphysics1 is the science of invention. By invention is meant self-reinvention.2 It is the capacity of self-reinvention3 that sustains and improves the primary qualities of life4 and their individual applications.5


Alfred Jarry (1873 -1907), who spoke the magic word that is reputed to have started Modern Art,6 put it like this: “With regard to the individual”,7 “Pataphysics is the science of imaginary8 solutions9 that create universes10 supplementary11 to this one.” 


In simpler terms, pataphysics describes an individual human’s capacity for nigh unlimited12 self-reinvention as means of improving the quality of life and which generates the three most significant experiences of existence, namely the sense of realness, the fantasy of self-consciousness and the stupendous experience of joy derived from the former.13


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1.    Note that the Greek word pataphysics is no more meaning full than the Greek word metaphysics. To an English speaker both Greek words are occult. However, because both are meaningless, any meaning can be superimposed on them.                       more …..

2.    Elsewhere called rebirth.  A person (i.e. as identity), such as an artist or a butcher or a pizza maker, self-reinvents by doing differently. When born an individual has no identity, hence is not a person. He or she later self-identifies with a personal fantasy (or ideal).

3.    Self-reinvention alters identity. It’s ‘the difference so acquired that makes a difference.’ Unless the human, or indeed any dynamic system competing for life with other dynamic systems, continuously self-reinvents that human will be eliminated.

4.    The primary qualities of life being the sense of realness, self-consciousness and the exhilaration derived from the former. The primary qualities were first described in ancient India as sat (Sanskrit: being/realness), chit (Sanskrit, consciousness, knowledge) and ananta (Sanskrit: limitless), later swapped for more user friendly ananda (Sanskrit: joy, bliss and so on). Those three ‘qualities’ defined the Atman/Brahman (or God), and, insofar as one (i.e., oneself = atman) attained them one was Atman/Brahman (or God).

5.    i.e., as they are derived from particular personal eco system applications.

6.    During the opening performance of his absurdist play Ubu Roi on December 11th, 1896. The magic word was ‘MERDE’ (English: shit). It headlined the absurd art that would soon follow and when every private doodle was, and still is, considered art.

7.    The science of pataphysics relates only to the solipsistic individual (i.e., the particular). The pataphysicist’s basic view of ‘life’ is that it is monistic and that all emergents happen as alternative monads of one and the same Universal Emergence Procedure. In which case all emergents happen as equivalent recursions of that procedure and are, therefore (initially, until reality tested), perfect in every way.

8.    i.e., as fantasy, fiction, idea and so on.

9.    i.e. quantised (or unitised, therefore complete) outputs (or emergents), therefore with positive impact or instruction capability.

10.    i.e. private worlds, eco-systems, environments, events. Self-presentations, identities and so on.

11.    i.e. as extension or additions, i.e. as differential variations having impact potential.

12.    i.e. within the limits of human DNA and the natural constraints of the given eco-system.

13.    So far as astronomers and other fantasists have declared, life (and specifically consciousness) appears to be the rarest emergent in the universe, hence an unthinkable miracle.