Adventure seed for CoC: Heidegger’s Necronomicon
Fourteen deaths on campus and the semester hadn’t even started yet. The only thing that linked the victims was that they had all responded to the following post-doctoral grant proposal:
It has often been observed that the works of Martin Heidegger (most notably Being and Time) are absolutely incomprehensible, if not actually gibberish. Two hypotheses have been put forward to explain this observation: (1) that Heidegger was trying to express something for which common communication strategies are inadequate; (2) that Heidegger just wasn’t very good at communicating.
Further, it has come to the researchers’ attention that prolonged exposure to Heidegger’s works appears to significantly degrade the ability of his readers to communicate. Attempts to explain Heidegger – notably the famous works by Hubert Dreyfus and Wrathall & Critchley – all end up pretty much as incomprehensible as the original, while works that merely cite Heidegger are frequently less comprehensible around the locus of citation. Following this observation a third hypothesis is proposed: that some aspect of Heidegger’s works has an active effect on readers’ cognitive and communicative faculties.
The researchers propose to investigate this apparent phenomenon. One group of researchers will attempt an interpretation of Heidegger’s works similar to that used on the celebrated, and comparable, Voynich Manuscript, approaching his writings as artifacts of unknown meaning or purpose and undertaking a detailed textual and non-textual, symbolic analysis of them, in the hope of uncovering patterns. Simultaneously, a second group of researchers will observe the interpreting group closely for signs of degradation in their abilities to communicate, analyze or think rationally without, themselves, coming into contact with Heidegger’s works. Finally, both groups will be continuously monitored by video surveillance equipment and behaviour-analysis software, which will notify a third group in the event of a significant change in the behaviour patterns of either or both of the first two groups.
To avoid self-selection biases or contamination of the data or groups by previously-exposed scholars, the three groups will be drawn at random from incoming freshmen in the academic new year, who will have to demonstrate ignorance of Heidegger’s works in a double blind test.