“Again and again, my ‘etc’ has a limit.”

–Have you attended any presentation where the engineer proposes all-benefit-and-no-cost designs and technologies of such fantastification as would bring a failing grade to an undergraduate in policy analysis?

These fantasists are like Wile E. Coyote, rushing off the cliff and hanging high in the aether of if and maybe, could and might, cans and possibly. Their slides are a tableau vivant where Revelation pulls the “thing” out of Nothing, their thingamajiggery sacralized as innovation.

As a Renaissance ceiling fresco, such fabled risk-seeking innovators would be little putti wheeling around St Market, upwards into a cerulean sky.

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge argued “matter” was treated like a pincushion whose surface was hidden by all the sensations, thoughts and properties stabbed into it.

You ask today’s version of, “What’s the matter?,” and you get a pincushion of sentences affixed with an “etc.” “Hail, Muse! Et Cetera,” the poet, Byron, put it in the third canto of Don Juan. And yet, writes Wittgenstein: “Again and again, my ‘etc’ has a limit.”

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