compiled by MICHAEL PEIL for
the National Center for Jarf Studies
14 February 1994
1. What is Jarf?
Jarf is a paradigm, sometimes called a metaphysics, much like Taoism or Nihilism. In its simplest form, Jarf provides an underlying explanation for "the way things are."
2. Whence the roots of modern Jarf thought?
The earliest inspiration for modern Jarf scholars can be found in the later works of German mystic Meister Eckhart (c.1260-1327), who in 1306 compiled "Die Wunderliche Rechnung meines Lebens mit der antiken Jarfen" (translated by Froen Angstorm, 1973. NCJS).
After gathering dust in a Milanese monastery for three centuries, Eckhart's work was picked up by René Descartes. While composing his "Treaties on the Passions," (1648) Descartes put together a series of apocryphal treatises titled "On the Old Scholars and Ancient Wisdoms." (Treatises #17 and #116 directly concern Eckhart's work and Jarf paradigms, and were first translated by F. Angstorm in 1975, NCJS.)
Although not specifically concerned with advancing the idea of Jarf, Descartes' work is considered one of the most accurate interpretations of Eckhart's work.
In 1770, John Hill published his controversial "On Obtaining Specimens for Microscopy." Largely ignored at the time were two footnotes in the Austrian translation of this work (1771), which made reference to "earlier work in Viennese monasteries concerning the idea of Jarf" (F. Angstorm, 1979, "Microscopy and Jarf.").
3. All right, what exactly "IS" Jarf?
Jarf scholars have explored the implications of Jarf in the fields of philosophy, physics, mathematics, sociology, psychology, historiography, culinary sciences and cultural anthropology.
Accusations that Jarf is "all things to all people" and "overlapping with those Subgenii" have never been documented.
Most major accepted Jarf research is conducted under the auspices of the National Center for Jarf Studies (NCJS), located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The National Jarf Library is located at Rosenthal-by-the-Bay, near the Center.
4. Who are the major players in modern Jarf theory?
Jarf first resurfaced due to the outstanding historiographical work of the Danish historian Froen Angstorm (1903-1979). Angstorm, working on a grant from the V.I. Lenin Library from 1970 to 1977, completed an exhaustive review and translation into Russian and English of most major Jarf works known today.
For several years, Jarf was primarily an underground philosophy among members of the intelligentsia in the former East Bloc. (Russian poet-cum-politician Evgenii Evtushenko denounced Jarf as "bourgeoisie fishmongering" in a speech before the All-Soviet People's Union for Culture in 1978, and his work, "Bitnitsa" ("The Beatnik") is widely seen as a sozrealism critique of the Jarf paradigm.)
Due to the vagaries of "samizdat," most of the Eastern bloc Jarfian literature of the period, and roughly one-quarter of Angstorm's translations, have not surfaced in the West.
Jarf returned to the West about the time of the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland, via a number of Roman Catholic priests in Britain on exchange. (Pope John Paul II, nee Karol Wojtyla, during his period in Krakow, is said to have harbored a number of Jarf philosophers, and may have participated in a local study group.)
In the West, Jarf study first surfaced in the field of history and historiography. Authors such as J. Throckmorton Hamstersmythe in Britain and T.K. Hearn in the United States did much to re-analyze Western history in a Jarf context.
The second wave of Jarf studies occurred in the areas of philosophy and sociology, led by pioneers such as G. Hull, B. Woodward, and C. Bagwell.
This wave, considered by many to be the "Golden Era" of Jarf studies on the Continent, is marked by a large number of endowed professorships at major universities in Germany and France being received by Jarf scholars.
The dubious "third wave" of Jarf scholars began in 1991, and has been dubbed the "pop Jarf" phase of Jarf historiography. This phase is not officially recognized by the Center.
5. Culinary sciences?
Yes, culinary sciences.
6. What is Cultural Jarfography?
Cultural Jarfography is the study of Jarf in cross-cultural context. Recent studies by the C.J. department of the NCJS have indicated that Jarf, rather than being an imperialistic dead white male philosophy/metaphysics, is in fact a human universal, like the incest taboo and loathing Microsoft.
The primary paradigm of Cultural Jarfographical research, Jarf Structuralism, indicates that the binary opposition between Jarf/FOURTEEN is as fundamental to the deep structure of human thought as the familiar oppositions of nature/culture and raw/cooked uncovered by Claude Levi-Strauss. For more information, consult "Genes, Jeans, and Jeane Kirkpatrick: a Jarfocentric interpretation of Levi-Strauss" by McBrayer, "et al."
7. What is the National Center for Jarf Studies?
Founded in 1987 in Aurora, Illinois, the NCJS was originally a grant clearinghouse for scholars of dubious academic credentials.
Investigated briefly by the Postal Inspection Service, the Aurora Headquarters were moved (under cover of night) by several junior scholars and fellow travelers in 1990 to the current Center headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The new directors of the center worked fervently to rehabilitate the image of the Center, now generally considered in academic circles as the philanthropic equivalent of the Harding Administration. First steps were made at eliminating overt ties to the Medellin Cartel and the Albanian Mob.
Over the past four years, the NCJS has successfully managed the transition from cheap money-laundering operation to full-fledged multi-disciplinary research institute (and all rumors to the contrary are damned lies). In 1994, the National Jarf Library was established at the modern facilities at Rosenthal-by-the-Bay. Plans to move the entire Jarf Center to the Rosenthal-by-the-Bay compound will be completed by early 1995.
8. All right, but what IS Jarf?
Jarf is an evolving paradigm. Many modern philosophies are doomed to almost biological life cycles: birth, slow growth to maturity, short period of activity, stagnation, and death.
Jarf has avoided this life cycle through a concerted effort on the part of the Jarf establishment to keep the underlying metaphysics from becoming burdened by anything so pedantic as hard and fast laws.
The evolution of Jarf is driven by a variation of the so-called "Golden Rule of Arts and Sciences," to wit, "He who has the gold makes the rules."
Jarf's variant is as follows: "He who publishes most frequently establishes the metaphysics." A corollary is that the most recent version of the FAQ is by definition the authoritative one, even if it is, for example, an obvious FOURTEEN forgery, and RSA encrypted, to boot.
Critics have pointed out that this aspect of the Jarf establishment leaves it open to 180-degree turns on major, underlying tenets. (For example, in 1992 alone, Jarf swapped position on causality 37 times.) Current Jarf biological theory, however, maintains that critics of Jarf are a vestigial organ of academia and therefore doomed to obsolescence and eventual complete excision.
9. Tell me more about this pop movement in Jarf studies.
10. What are Jarf's ties to secret societies like the Rosicrucians?
Although inevitably, some Jarf scholars have ties to such organizations, Jarf, since 1990, has had no official links with any other organizations.
(Prior to 1990, however, the Center's ties could often be traced on the 1040 statement of the executive director.)
The NCJS categorically denies any and all affiliations with the following organizations, their affiliates and wholly-owned subsidiaries: the Rosicrucians, the Knights Templar, the Rotarians, the Freemasons (Scottish Rite), the Boy Scouts of America, the Bolsheviks, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ("the Mormons"), United We Stand America, the Church of the Subgenius, the Legion of Doom, the Likud Party, Americans for Democratic Action, the John Birch Society, the Madison Foundation, Steve Jackson Games, and Apple Computers.
The NCJS has a paid staff of three paralegals who work 40 hours a week proving non-association with these and other organizations, with whom the Center is accused of commingling.
Look it up.
12. Please tell me more about the pop movement.
Okay. But don't ask again.
The popular movement of Jarf studies, self-dubbed the "People's Jarf," has many of its roots in the writings of C. Bagwell, who sought to interpret, in a Jarf-revisionistic manner, the complete works of Polish science-fiction author Slanislaw Lem.
(The "postmodern" movement of Jarf, a short-lived immediate offshoot of Bagwell's "Lem Writings," was quickly subsumed by the onslaught of existentialists who leapt onto the bandwagon, gazelle-like, and quickly sunk it.)
Many accomplished Jarf authors have ventured briefly into pop studies, only to return sullied by their excursions. Such once-reputable authors as G. Hull ("Deconstructing the Hokey Pokey") and W.S.Hamilton ("On the Future of Soft Consonants in Russian") are among these authors.
It should be noted that C. Bagwell himself has denounced the splinter philosophy that he founded as "a group of running-dog pseudo-scientists who wouldn't know an original idea if it came up and bit them on the arse."
13. How can I contribute to the pool of existing Jarf literature?
Contact the Center at PO Box 8037, Winston-Salem, NC 27109 or read and post to alt.philosophy.jarf. Since the turnover rate of faculty at the NCJS is so high, accomplished amateur Jarf scholars and dilettantes quickly become tenured Jarf professors.
Alt.philosophy.jarf, presently the home of most Jarf debate on the internet, is intended for Jarf scholars to pose questions within the many different facets of Jarf thought, and to discuss puzzling questions of the application of Jarf thought to modern questions.
14. Why is the FAQ so long?
The National Center's Faculty Committee for FAQ Construction is paid by the hour. See also the notes on Jarf epistemology and the role of the FAQ in it.
14. Who ARE the "FOURTEENS" and why do you write them
in capital letters?
Some things cannot be discussed, even in the a.p.j FAQ.
ALT.PHILOSOPHY.JARF FAQ VERSION 16.4, 184.108.40.206.13 (Mayan long count date).
QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS FAQ, ABOUT ALT.PHILOSOPHY.JARF, OR ABOUT THE NATIONAL CENTER OR ITS SUBSIDIARY ORGANS SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO MICHAEL PEIL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AT PEILMA@AC.WFU.EDU.
History of document
FAQ of alt.jarf (later alt.philosophy.jarf)
Version # Comments
1.0 Uncirculated English-language original (2.1.1990)
2.0 Translated into Ukrainian (6.3.1990)
2.1 Correction of tenses of Ukrainian translation (6.3.1990)
2.2 Correction of subjunctive mood of Ukrainian translation
2.3 Correction of accusative case of Ukrainian translation
3.0 Translated from Ukrainian into Farsi. (9.3.1990)
3.1 Transliteration from Latin letters. (9.4.1990)
3.2 Apologetic letter to Iranian National Linguists Board
Included in FAQ. (9.6.1990)
4.0 Translated from Farsi into Linear B. (12.1.1990)
4.1 Spell-checked Linear B version (12.25.1990, the
5.0 Democratic Presidential hopeful Paul E. Tsongas
Linear B version of FAQ as an appendix to his
"An Economic Call to Arms." (Appendix N: National
Industrial Policy.) (1.31.1991)
6.0 Translated back into English, only copy was immedi-
ately DES encrypted and key lost. (3.3.1991).
6.1 DES encryption encheferized. (3.6.1991)
6.2 Working fervently late at night, the NCJS's Department
of Cryptography cracks DES encryption, recovers the
FAQ (3.8.1991, 3am)
6.3 THIS VERSION CONFISCATED BY NATIONAL
IMMEDIATELY CLASSIFIED. (3.8.1991))
6.4 NCJS executive director rats on former NCJS executive
director to IRS in return for declassification of FAQ,
published in censored form in this version. (10.24.1991)
7.0 Jarf FAQ reportedly backmasked on eighteenth through
thirty-eighth tracks of They Might Be Giant's "Apollo
18." (late 1991)
8.0 Creole version of FAQ promulgated. (1.29.1992)
8.1 Spell-checked version of FAQ promulgated.
8.2 Shrimp gumbo scraped off of spell-checked version of
9.0 This version of FAQ implicated in Lindburgh baby
10.0 The fabled "Lost Jarf," of which little is known and
even less is said. (?)
11.0 Pages 3-17 and 27-117 of FAQ washed out to sea.
11.1 Repagination of remaining bits of FAQ. (1.4.1993)
12.0 Smarmy comments by previous editors deleted from
12.1 Sleazy illustrations from previous executive directors
12.2 In-jokes removed. (3.7.1993)
12.3 After careful reflection, in-jokes replaced. (3.8.1993)
13.0 The "FAQ of the Covenant" discovered near Mount
Ararat, promulgated. (4.29.1993)
13.1 The "FAQ of the Covenant" proven to be a cheap fraud
by Uri Geller. (5.8.1993)
13.2 The "FAQ of the Covenant" claimed to produce cold
13.3 Claims of cold fusion disproved. (6.17.1993)
13.4 The "FAQ of the Covenant" claimed to have predicted
Clinton electoral victory in 4,000 BC. (7.1.1993)
13.5 [Joe Smith] sends a copy of the "FAQ of the Covenant"
to ten of his friends. He immediately wins $16.3
million in his state lottery. ACTUAL TESTIMO-
13.6 The "FAQ of the Covenant" spotted at Grateful Dead
concert somewhere in the southwest. (9.7.1993)
13.7 Carbon-dating proves that the "FAQ of the Covenant"
is in fact only five months old, rather than the previ-
ously claimed 6,500 years old. (9.29.1993)
13.8 The "FAQ of the Covenant" is re-buried at Mount
14.0 The "Blasphemous FAQ." This document, of which all
known copies have been destroyed, is the center of the
Jarf splinter group, the FOURTEENS. (11.29.1993)
15.0 The "New Year's Eve FAQ" promulgated by drunken
mob at NCJS secretarial pool office party. (12.31.1993)
15.1 Wine stains wiped off of "New Year's Eve FAQ."
16.0 Current executive director pays blackmail, receives and
burns only copy of version 15.1, promulgates own
rendering of FAQ. (1.16.1994)
16.1 Executive director overridden by trustees of NCJS, who
promulgate own version of FAQ. (1.19.1994)
16.2 Executive director sends Russian Army troops to
surround Rosenthal-by-the-Bay. After a four-day siege,
the leaders of the trustees surrender and are taken into
"protective custody." Executive director and "special
committee" produce own version of FAQ. (1.23.1994)
16.3 [Almost] Current document, version 16.2 spell checked.
16.4 Current document. Stupid binary characters inserted by
Macintosh in lieu of quote marks were removed with
the emacs command:
Also, M-x make-document-authoritative-and-inerrant
FAQ and history of FAQ documents begin using Mayan
long count dates of the form baktun.katun.tun.uinal.kin.
16.5 FAQ renumbered to make it look newer. You got a
problem with that? (220.127.116.11.11)
HISTORY OF FAQ VERSION Six.0 Warp-NT for filing cabinets, 18.104.22.168.11.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR JARF STUDIES, OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (History of this document: Versions 1.0 through 3.0: Classified)
Return to Vision? Nary!