Pataphysics, an absurdist concept coined by the French writer Alfred Jarry, is the idea of a philosophy or science dedicated to studying what lies beyond the realm of metaphysics. It is a parody of the theory and methods of modern science and is often expressed in nonsensical language. A practitioner of pataphysics is a pataphysician or a pataphysicist.
Pataphysics is sometimes defined as "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments" (from Alfred Jarry's Book Faustroll).
An example of a pataphysical solution to a problem: A group of people have to walk up and down a steep hill several times a day, in order to get from their place of work to the nearest bus stop. The problem is solved by installing a ski-lift to take them up the hill, and distributing skateboards for coming down. Rube Goldberg and Heath Robinson were artists who invented (pictorial representations of) machines of a pataphysical bent.
Raymond Queneau has described 'pataphysics as resting "on the truth of contradictions and exceptions." It is a parody of the theory and methods of modern science and is often expressed in nonsensical language.
Perhaps the most famous mention of 'pataphysics remains The Beatles' 1969 song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." Actual works within the 'pataphysical tradition tend to focus on the processes of their creation, and elements of chance or arbitrary choices are frequently key in those processes.
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