Site Map
Threads of Gold
Section › 6 Set Search Previous Next

Reservations Contents  

Cool Reservations

If you want to make a statement with a great many qualifications, put some of the qualifications in separate sentences. - Sir Bertrand Russell, in "How I Write" [1961, 63-65]
reservations and terse statements blend
FIGURE: The reservations and many terse-looking statements blend on several levels.

Sound qualifications or reservations (pinches of salt) - can be subsumed in some proverbs. They are always granted on this site, as signalled by the Reservations link on top of pages like this one.

"Reservation" in this context means sound qualification, the setting of limiting conditions or limiting modifications as needs be. It is a caveat, that is, a warning to consider factors before accepting them or acting on them.

The term "well, well" is used to express the same as "hm". Both are translations of the Norwegian tja (Haugen 1995, 438). On top of the pages on-site there is a text link to a set of reservations that are to be added to the running text as needs be. To repeat, such reservations are supposed be palatable and encouraging to you too, to do their work as intended by me. One fair aim is optimal rather than maximal reservations, for "too much of a good thing" (a load of reservations) can become a nuisance.

A fit set of reservations is a neat set chosen from the site's Grand Platter (our reservation battery) to be applied ad hoc (as is fit) to any statement, story, and even illustration here. There are good sides to it:

In folklore many sorts of reservations are subsumed and presupposed (quite as Sir Bertrand would have it). So: (1) You are not supposed to believe all proverbs literally, or in just one way. (2) Many tales have additional meanings (metaphoric, allegoric, etc) (3) Idiomatic expressions may employ typified and suggestive elements; etc. Yes, in some traditions listeners are presupposed to have the needed reservations to add to many an expression that looks frisk and over-confident (and hence tendentious) perhaps.

Not Promoting A Lot

Every sentence that I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question. [Niels Bohr]

On this site there is plenty of information to look into. One aim is to inform truly. But you are also encouraged to be vigilant and reduce guessing and believing far and wide. It is in line with what the Danish top physicist Bohr says above. He found it fit to make an over-all reservation too, in his way. But his stand may be improved. See below.

A "supportive well-well medley" will be explained:

Supportive means, ideally, supportive to me and this site, first and foremost. That is for safety reasons. Ideally, 'supportive' is supportive to both me and you - maybe many others. That is at least a win-win way. And a succinct style that is put to work in a supportive [company] environment can bring about good changes too, according to TA (cf. Jongeward et al, 1976; Morrison and O'Hearne 1977).

For further, related tips, see for example Buzan's Study Skills (2011) and Buzan and Buzan (2011).

The Grand Platter

Below is a "grand platter" (menu). Parts of the meny may be picked out of it and put together to form a fit set of reservations to add to the statement(s) etc. in question. The first statement to consider in this context is "The moon is a green cheese." You could find that "By golly, it isn't really a bad thing to say!" Study the subsumed qualifications (reservations) to go along with it onsite, and then you may not disagree, even. But first a saying by the New England philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson to warm us up.


The qualifications that follow may be connected to e.g. "striving to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form" by Ralph Waldo Emerson (in Atkinson 1950, 2). Or put another statement instead if you like. The main thing in this now: Learn to bring together apt reservations and a statement for delicious outcomes.
  • "WELL, presumably • so it could probably seem at times that striving [well] to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form under so and so conditions • if cleared and made fit and stringent, culinary plump, tidy and cosy, perhaps • if seen from certain angles • on such and such levels of proficiency • according to this or that hitherto ungauged probability estimate • in order to reduce the grossest harm, perhaps • eventually, sub specie aeternitatis • as far as I can see."

  • "WELL, maybe nowadays • maybe eventually • maybe under the right conditions • as concretely as well-nigh possible • it seems that striving [well] to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form in an odd sort of way • in a handy, rustic, rough outline • to the degree it corresponds with solid facts • to the degree it is correct • and maybe never."

  • "WELL, depending in part on definition • figuratively considered • all (basic) things considered • it could prove to be a probable outline, that striving [well] to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form in one way or another (in some way or other) • perhaps • statistically verified later on, hopefully • if all goes well • depending on evidence."

  • "WELL, if I have to state anything in such a matter, let it be preliminary for some time • perhaps to be modified or dissected later if decency bids it, that striving to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form in some/a savoury, sound, rewarding, profitable, and satisfactory (i.e., good) way or sense • still a whole lot could profit from being ascertained very well in good time • I figure (or suppose or guess) • give or take • if I have seen the Light • no matter how."

  • "WELL, maybe to some degree • if given a fair chance, striving [well] to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form, perhaps depending on an interpretation • all in all • or is related to it, methinks • and who do you think you are?"

NOTE: The dot • in the survey above stands for 'and' and 'and/or' or 'or', depending on what you want it to be.

If you want to take a broader look at something that is poorly communicated and ugly too, feel free to ask, "Where is the evidence? • Who benefits • Where does the money go, all in all?" and try to be bulwarked enough to get fair answers, so that you may get wiser in time.


"And, striving to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form to the degree it corresponds with solid facts, and if [it is] cleared and made fit and stringent, perhaps." A set of qualifications is added to Emerson's statement of faith. There are many other options to "juggle with", including, "Striving to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form, to the degree it is correct." And so on. Another: "Striving to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form. Hopefully there is evidence that it is so."

Look for evidence first, not belief. That is a standard lesson. At any rate, choose parts from among the entries of the so-called Grand Platter (menu, buffet). Here is one pick:

  • It seems / so it could probably seem
  • to be statistically verified later on, hopefully
  • , give or take
  • in a good, profitable, and rewarding way
  • somehow / to some degree
  • eventually, all in all, sub specie aeternitatis

Adding one or some of them - or parts of them - to Emerson's original dictum that striving to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form, you may come up with a quite tenable wording by the subsumed reservations - or maybe you want to present something humorous and entertain?

Thus, if you think a writer goes too far, or perhaps should have shown reserve, you may modify the outré statements by adding reservations. Such a practice may eventually assist discerment if employed just as Buddha is into in the renowned Kalama Sutta from 2 500 years ago.

"The Moon Is a Green Cheese" - How Correct Is That?

How could any rational human in his right mind disagree with this?:

At times it could probably seem that the moon is a green cheese under so and so atmospheric conditions, on such and such levels of proficiency - maybe nowadays, to the degree it is correct, and maybe never. Ah, but it depends in part on definition, how figuratively "moon" and/or "green cheese" are considered - but a correct outlook in this depends first and foremost on evidence. Or if all such rational handling fails in this case, let the idea be just preliminary for some time, till things get better ascertained and not solely depending on poetic interpretations.

You see the picture: Sound qualifications may be ready-made, and then used as we wish to the benefit of this site owner at the very least . . . And that arrangement is presupposed for the whole site, as can be seen.

Eric Berne's Semantics

In his book What Do You Say After You Say Hello? (1973), Dr Eric Berne explains that
he may refer to human beings of either sex . . . sometimes he may also be used for grammatical simplicity . . . Is means that I have a reasonably firm conviction about something . . . Seems to be or appears to be means that I am waiting for further evidence before making a firm commitment (Berne 1973, xvii).

In this way Berne suggests where he seems sure, even cocksure. We need to adjust to that. We see that Berne has devised reservations that modify statements, arguable or gross on his part. He has put some qualifications in the quoted, separate sentences (quoted above), just as the Nobel laureate Sir Bertrand Russel wants us to do. As a result Berne could perhaps penetrate into the minds of others better - by (a) shorter sentences; (b) more impressive statements at first glance - a kind of "fake dogmatism". Or by terse and savoury expressions.

Add a good blend of advance modifiers (see the well medley) and see what you come up with.

Three Sorts of Statements

We look into three sorts of statements: (A) declarative; (C) normative; and (C) joking ones. In simpler terms:
  1. Facts: These statements try to state facts, maybe expose things, explain definite knowledge, and so on. They seek to say how something is, or how things are. The personality instance that Dr. Berne calls the Adult (akin to Freud's ego-concept) may prefer facts to "fatten on".
  2. Norms: These statements are marked by "shoulds", "musts", and "ought to's". The seek to tell how things have to be, need to be, and so on. It is possible that somebody tries to dominate through such means. If so, it tends to hinder moral growth. The Parent (not unlike Freud's superego) is full of moral for dominating others or handle bad guys.
  3. Making fun: These can be hard to explain, and it frequently shows up that two of the most difficult things to explain in a foreign language are philosophy and humour. Humorous statement can help those who can catch the ideas or subterfuges involved, perhaps in the background. There are many forms of humour, though. Not all are suitable at any time at any place. The Child (it is id, libido in Freudian settings) likes fun and loving "at any time".

There are the three sorts of statements and their strong calls to three facets of our personality, according to Dr. Berne and Transactional Analysis (TA). May it be pointed out: It is possible and very often suitable to add mature reservations to all three sorts of statements.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Talks of Something Similar

Fit examples help in making a teaching more easily understood. Now, suppose that you read:
We must leave a too close and lingering adherence to facts - [Ralph Waldo Emerson, in "Love"].

The just quoted statement looks terse. It is taken (lifted) out of its context, and contains a platitude, which is "too". How much is "too much"? That remains to be settled. The main question is: to what degree and under which presumed conditions does his utterance hold water? If that can be decided with some degree of certaintly, we may also build on it. Thus, the Emerson statement may be taken as valid under some conditions and in some ways and to some degree - but not under all conditions and in all ways and all the way.

If necessary we can explore these issues, aiming at what is most reliable, valud, helpful, interesting and maybe fruitful. These are standard criteria to evaluate research topics by.

A first question is: Is it possible to defend it as a general teaching? Well, Emerson says we must leave adhering to facts too much, but do not believe him. Try and find out instead. That is the key.

Here is a fuller quotation that should shed light on the quotation above:

Only it is to be hoped that, by patience and the Muses' aid, we may attain to that inward view of the law, which shall describe a truth ever young and beautiful, so central that it shall commend itself to the eye, at whatever angle beholden.

And the first condition is, that we must leave a too close and lingering adherence to facts, and study the sentiment as it appeared in hope and not in history [Emerson, in "Love"].

Emerson speaks for an "inward view" which comes close to "realising", if it is not that. However, patience which he talks for, is hardly enough help in itself (per se), for it has to be harnessed well too. He does not specify the method and other delicate parts of how to employ patience to realize things.

What Emerson says is that we are to aim at his central concern, and that the possible truth is inner, and presented in some general line of outlook, hopefully. We may reach up to find a good piece of truth by getting to a generalized idea, most likely.

We are advised by Emerson here to look over or beyond particular expressions in order to see for ourselves by insight aided by particular words and their combinations. So Emerson's outlook above ties in well with the set of presupposed reservations on this site.

Aligning a Quite Emersonian Idea to Occam's Razor

That profitable knowledge is elegant [Emerson, attr.], is one way of suggesting a principle called Occam's Razor, also spelled Ockham's Razor, which can be of help to thinkers, writers, and educators alike - to anyone who strives for succinct expressions, ideally.

Occam's razor (the principle of shaving off unnecessary stuff) is also called a law of economy, or a law of parsimony. It is named after the scholastic William of Ockham (1285 – 1347/4). He thought that "Plurality should not be posited without necessity." The principle gives precedence to simplicity, so that for example the simplest explanation is to be preferred if there are two equally valid-looking, competing theories on something. And simplicity may be elegant.

Occam's principle was invoked by the French savant Durand de Saint-Pourçain before Ockham. And in science, Nicole d'Oresme of the 1300s invoked the law of economy in defending the simplest hypothesis of the heavens. Scientists taught and teach about the same simplifying laws and principles. But it was Ockham's name that was fixed to the parsimony principle (EB, "Ockham's razor)

On Fame

Another statement attributed to Emerson:

Fame is proof that the people are gullible.

You should be trained in thinking "How far is that true?" instead of believing it in a somewhat gullible fashion. Emerson does not specify the conditions he thinks it is fit for, how far, and so on. Nor does he explain what he means by 'fame', what sorts of fame he talks of, or if he refers to all off them. But the gist (inner truth) of his thinking is that "gullible people foster fame". He says fame depends on gullible people far and wide, which may be true too.

Ask not, "Is it a true statement?" Instead ask, "How far could it be true, and under what conditions, and where is the evidence that it is so?" That could help. "Celebrity Worship" is widespread, at any rate.

It could be he thought that much fame is the result of people that are gullible and buy unreliable thrash magazines of are stuck in Celebrity Half-Worship - whatever. As he himself said, "People do not deserve to have good writings; they are so pleased with the bad."

The New England thinker thought people were pleased with bad writings in his day.

By subsumed reservations you may reach terse or poetic elegance of expression, and as far as possible without disdain - neat and savoury, that is, readable. That is not bad in itself. [Link]

There are no hard and set rules for orchestrating a tune or simple-looking song anyhow - but ground rules can give lots of help at times.

Further note:

  • In not a few cliques pre-made reservations are NOT welcome - not yet, at any rate. Do not run any risk; adhere to local customs if you can bear with them.
  • Some reservation items may work like a wrapping up of some figurative parcel (or clustered message elements): Such items may serve to co-define whole texts and parts of texts, more or less. The "well-well medley" link you may find near the top of most of our pages, has that one purpose.
  • It can also be quite entertaining to try out interspersing selected items by putting them inside statements. There are many reasons.

Why "Good" Knowledge?

In an Emerson quotation, or any quotation and bossy statement by others, "good" or "well" may be inserted. A modified Emerson statement reads, "striving [well] to be a man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form.

It is a boon to know what is good from what is bad. And in real life there is a "grey zone" in between in some cases. We have explained what is very often meant by "good" on this site, at least. The reason is that some things need to be spelled out [Link].

Then there is Dr Eric Berne again: In his book What Do You Say After You Say Hello? (1973) he spends some time on "scripts", or basic notions of an infantile nature - they may be counteracted by rational thinking and savoury education, hopefully. That is what he says. And,

Almost every script has roles for "good guys" . . . and for "winners . . ."What is considered good . . . and what is a winner . . . is something peculiar to each script . . . In a cowboy script, for example the good guy is a winner . . . Good means brave, quick on the draw, honest, and pure . . . A winner is someone who survives. . . . In a soap opera, a winner is a girl who gets a man . . . (Berne 1973, 37)"

What do we mean by 'good' here on this site? Here is a link to explore in order to detect it, if possible: [Link]

Your part could be to make some well knit, cogent, fair and polite enough reservations that allow for candid or very poetic style, and define "good" too, for our good . . . There are several other uses as well.

Research Gate

In basic research there are steps and stages. One switches to and fro and between many of them, aiming at finding out of things somehow. A comparative sketch of the standard or basic research procedure is here. [Link]

By using the salient parts and ways of the sketch and similar designs, man rises above the monkey level of aping and conformism.

However - (Critical Discussion)

In scientific training we have to learn to consider possible alternatives to the ideas we study. There are technical terms in this line. And what follows is a sort of "counter-hypothesis" (alternative hypothesis) to finding out of things through scientific constructs, methods, equipment, and evidence-making alone: D. C. Lau (1963) interprets and translates Tao Te Ching's chapter 15 thus:

Of old he who was well versed in the way
Was minutely subtle, mysteriously comprehending,
And too profound to be known. [Excerpts]

Question: "In this translation, Lao Tzu - was he known or not? - appears to tell that the really well versed person is too profound to be known and understood."

Can you measure the one who is "too profound to be known". How can you tell unless you are profound too, and thus fairly unknown? You can do it by measuring the unknown, the formerly unknown, and go on. However, if you cannot devise a way to measure the hitherto unknown guys, at least keep the issue at bey, in suspense, in suspensio. That is a fine way. A proverb tells: "The stone you cannot lift, let it lie."

Yet, there is more to this, after manuscripts were dug up with more verses in them. Professor Lau Din-cheuk has translated from one of those manuscripts too. And since Classical Chinese is much allusive and without punctuation, there are many translations around - hundreds. Others translate these lines a bit differently. One had better allow for these sorts of things.

Chapter Summary

A. Subsumed Reservations Easily Help Young Ones

You may love to use "gilded presuppositions" and hence avoid being looked on as a bigmouth even though you express very tersely. It is one pleasure to be precise at times, another to be guarded by reservations.

A careful terse style may help in reaching the gist of what is expressed, and assist you in detecting ugly arguments, unfairness and sordid lacks of Sachlichkeit (factuality) in the outputs of others, and so on. [More]

If you sense there is something of value in a statement, you could choose among splendid reservations from the Grand Platter (reservation battery) for the sake of searching out what that something could be. Selected stock phrases on the Grand Platter can be adapted to the statements you want to look into. It is not hard to do.

Some people prefer to moderate their statements at every turn. They use academic reservations and look very, very careful or guarded. If you make a set of neat, calculated reservations in advance and then say: "Choose among them to our benefit", what you state may become surprisingly direct, poetic too in some ways, even clear and palatable.

Use your own discretion to determine where and when and how to apply these modulating reservation phrases - use them at your own discretion, and not to your harm.

Further know that a decent methodology of learning promotes the learning of keywords and key phrases (see Buzan and Buzan 2010; Buzan 2011). Advance modifiers (resevations) can ideally help in making texts easier to read, in making learning easier, because it reduces data to process, learn and remember. A little practice helps too.


Tick tack Tao, Gold eggs goings, Ascent route with threads of gold, Literature  

Atkinson, Brooks, ed: Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Modern Library. New York, 1950.

Berne, Eric: What Do You Say After You Say Hello? The Psychology of Human Destiny. Bantam. New York, 1973.

Buzan, Tony. Buzan's Study Skills: Mind Maps, Memory Techniques, Speed Reading and More! Harlow, UK: Pearson Education, 2011.

Buzan, Tony, with Barry Buzan. The Mind Map Book: Unlock Your Creativity, Boost Your Memory, Change Your Life. Harlow: BBC Active/Pearson, 2010.

Haugen, Einar. Norsk-engelsk ordbok. 3rd ed, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1995.

Morrison James and O'Hearne, John: Practical Transactional Analysis in Management. Addison- Wesley. Reading, 1977.

EB: Encyclopedia Britannica, see Britannica Online.

Jongeward, Dorothy et al: Everybody Wins: Transactional Analysis in Management. Rev. ed. Addison-Wesley. Reading, Mass, 1976.

Lau, Din Cheuk, tr. Tao Te Ching. London: Penguin Classics, 1962. ⍽▢⍽ There are reprint editions from 1974 and 2000. Dr Lau has also published a bilingual edition (The Chinese University Press, 2001), which incorporates recently found and translated manuscripts from antiquity (2001). Data for other translations are here: [More]

Russell, Sir Bertrand. "How I Write". I The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell. Edited by Robert E. Egner and Lester E. Denonn. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1961:63-65.

Tick tack Tao, Gold eggs goings, Ascent route with threads of gold, To top Section Set Next

Tick tack Tao, Gold eggs goings, Ascent route with threads of gold. USER'S GUIDE: [Link]  ᴥ  Gain-Ways: [Link]
© 1998–2017, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil. [Email]  ᴥ  Disclaimer: [Link]