Author Topic: Propagation of Falsehoods => Truths  (Read 446 times)


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Propagation of Falsehoods => Truths
« on: November 11, 2022, 09:54:33 PM »
While I was browsing things in the local library,
words in one knots book jumped out at me as
just the sort of thing that troubles knotting.

More helpful, sage words about the general knotting
literature have not been written than those by Pieter
van de Griend in his old short booklet, A Letter to Lester :

Foremost deduction seems to be that there is a lot of simply dumb
propagation of nonsense.  Knot tyers (and especially knot[-book] authors!)
dumbly propagate initial falsehoods sufficiently often to establish them
as truths.  Why?  What comes into the system (i.e., books) is what gets

And not merely propagate, but strengthen & exaggerate
--be bold!
To wit, voici speculation cast into "fact" regarding
the Constrictor binder by Philip PETIT in Why Knot? [p.86] :

> This knot was described in the first century AD (but alas, not drawn)
> by Heraklas, the Greek physician.  In his short treatise on surgical slings,
> he described eighteen other knots useful for that specific application.
> In the 1930s, Spanish muleteers were using this knot as part of their whips.''

In the apparent source of Petit's bold assertions above
--viz., CLDay's Quipus & Witches's Knots (1967)--,
note that CLDay only adds to others' challenged efforts
to interpret the ancient Heraklas information,
and that CLD himself at most suggests an interpretation
which then might lead to believing that --not that the subject
knot is the constrictor-- possibly the ancients ALSO knew
of the constrictor!
  And that he heard --from a lone source, Ropponen--
it alleged that the knot was used in Spain (prior to her 1930s
book pub. date, not "in the 1930s") by muleteers and was
called "whip knot" --a name that she translated from Esperanto,
the language in which she'd corresponded with her source,  R.Gaston.
That is quite some remove from much more than a hint
that the knot was used "as a part of their whips"!

Fuller text follows.
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From: CLDay's Quipus & Witches' Knots , p.111 [1967]

| Both Ohrvall and Miller identify the nautikos brokhos, probably
| correctly, as the familiar mariner's knot called in English the clove hitch.
| ...  These are enigmatical words, to say the least, ...
| Haraklas's description of the way to tie the nautikos brokhos
| in situ (i.e., while putting it around a patient's limb) is clear enough,
| but nonetheless unsatisfactory.  Forming two loops round an object and
| then passing the end through  both loops (see Fig.8) does NOT produce a
| clove hitch, or in fact any knot at all.  Ohrvall, disturbed by the plural
| "loops," suggests that Haraklas "without doubt refers to the second
| loop."
|    My way out of the difficulty is to assume that the second loop is laid
| over the first loop (see Fig.4).   This solution to the problem salvages
| the plural "loops," but does not dispose of all possible doubts.
|  If ...
| I am not suggesting that the nautikos brokhos is the constrictor
| knot, but in view of the similarity between the technique of tying it
| and Heraklas's technique of tying the clove hitch (or at least my inter-
| pretation of his technique), it is interesting to speculate if the ancients
| were familiar with it.
|   Modern users of knots are not generally familiar with it, indeed
| ... .
|  Ashley did not originate it, however, for Martta ROPPONEN,
|  a Finish Girl Scout leader, had already published it in her excellent hand-
|  book entitled Solmukirja (1931).  She had never seen it in Finland, she
|  wrote [to] me in 1954, but had learned about it from a Spaniard named
|  Raphael GASTON, who called it a whip knot, and told her it was used
|  in the mountains of Spain by muleteers and herdsmen.
|     We may take it for granted, I think, that it is a traditional knot,
|  handed down from generation to generation (in Spain, at least, if not
|  elsewhere) ever since Roman times and earlier.  [!!!?]

Here I must remark at how very UNscientific it is for CLDay to make
this amazing suggestion that, based on a lone cursory assertion of
use by muleteers in Spain, the knot IS so used and has been
SINCE ROMAN TIMES!  (Why stop there?)
Whereas the proper, tentative use of Gaston's asserted information
--we're learning of this from Martta, not Raphael-- is to then GO LOOK
to have been!  (I know of no such search & finding.)

« Last Edit: November 13, 2022, 07:24:21 PM by Dan_Lehman »