To begin to understand nonsense it may help first if one has a good grasp of sense, for comparison between the two.
General education is obviously useful in this regard; after which perhaps the most important trait is critical thinking. One suggestion for a book that gives a good grounding in critical thinking is ‘What’s the Worst That Could Happen’, by Greg Craven.
Nonsense can be interpreted as communication that lacks any coherent meaning; it can be considered synonymous with absurdity and the ridiculous. Artists in many realms have long employed nonsense (though ironically, tragically, many suffer unemployment while doing so). Poets, novelists, lyricists and copywriters often seek refuge in it; and there are entire works that depend upon it as a foundation.
When contemplating the antithesis of sense, one promising candidate for non-sense can be found lurking within surrealism.
And then there’s ‘common sense’, which is a thing to which people often appeal, and yet its use all too often can turn out to be oxymoronic. One example of ‘common sense’ that results in reality inversion is the persistent case of King Cnut.
In the philosophies of language and science, nonsense is distinguished from sense or meaningfulness. An understanding of nonsense is a necessary field of study in cryptography, as it is essential in separating a signal from noise. But attempts to come up with a coherent and consistent method of distinguishing sense from nonsense are troublesome at best; such may be a slippery chimaera, one that can even perhaps be spied on occasion chewing upon its own tail.
When all else is said and done, phlyarology can be a subject of crucial importance — especially when it comes to considering peak everything (to name but a few paltry aspects that, it would seem, appear to be irrelevant to ‘normal’ life).
Which is, of course, why we’re all here. Assuming, of course, that we are…
“Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 6.431
I do not believe it is possible to ever fully grok nonsense; and so phlyarology is a never-ending pursuit. But I do believe that this doom can be a thoroughly rewarding and worthwhile one.
Or, to put it another way, stupid nonsense is a serious matter!
Any questions to be directed to Pendantry!
So how to close off a post about nonsense?
Well being a Brit sufficiently old to remember The Two Ronnies, a YouTube find that so perfectly shows the skill and professionalism of Ronnie Barker now follows.