23 March 2010

This is not a blog post about René Magritte

This evening the message board in the train was displaying the message that there was no message. You can see it in the picture below, the best I could get of a dimly lit moving target with an iPhone camera.


Is this a variation on Magritte's This is not a pipe? The obvious resolution of the paradox—if that was indeed what it was—Magritte presented is that his object is not a pipe but a painting of one.

But a "No message" display is a message, is it not? It is informing us that there is no message. Therefore, it is a message.

I suppose when there is no message to display, the message board could simply be turned off. But then the passengers will not know if the display is broken or turned off because there is no message to display.

Is it possible to convey the information that there is no information to convey without actually conveying any information?

8 comments:

pascal said...

This statement is false.

Tristram Brelstaff said...

No comment!

Funder said...

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Kazimir Majorinc said...

The next comment is true!

Kazimir Majorinc said...

Previous comment is false!

Deniz Bevan said...

Well, they could say something more helpful like "no new messages" or even "have a good day!" or some other default message that tells you that all's well...

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

But every "no new messages" message would be a new message!

Deniz Bevan said...

Well, yes, but at least you`d no you weren`t missing any important updates...