Author Topic: Subjectivism and the chair  (Read 796 times)

Beck Nergal

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Subjectivism and the chair
« on: August 11, 2017, 12:53:21 am »
Hi. I've been interested in Discordia since the late 90s but I never really thought to look here until now, and this is my first post. Don't know if there's etiquette, but hello! Hope this meandering bullshit isn't a terrible first impression, but I didn't see an introduction thread and I've been chewing on this for a bit.

The more I think about it, the more I recognize that Plato and Ayn Rand were both full of crap, and I don't mean politically (I'll gladly have that discussion, just not now). A is not A. There is no ideal template for a thing. Nothing is objective, concepts are fluid, language is weird. And I think I can demonstrate that objective certainty is conceptually bullshit with a thought experiment that I half ripped off from a few half remembered panels of The Invisibles Vol. 3. But hopefully without any of the vague pretension.

Picture a chair. I'll use an example, but I want you to picture a chair.

What is the chair you imagine? Does it have legs? What color is it? What is it made of? It's different from mine, that's fine. That actually isn't the point, but we'll work through it.

Mine is one of my parents' hold dining room chairs, a four-legged pine chair with dowel slats on the back and a brown-red leather cushion on a thin piece of wood. Sturdy enough to last for years, but the back legs are coming apart a bit from the rest of the chair frame. We can probably, generally agree that what I describe is a chair, and I'm willing to bet what you're picturing is a chair, too. That these are different chairs have nothing to do with my point, I'm just painting a picture so you can have an idea of my chair.

What makes this chair a chair? Is it because I sat on it? Is it because it's designed to be sat upon? Is it because I look at it and call it a chair? Why do we agree that it's a chair? What is its chair essence? Is it the use? The shape? The way it was built? The intention of its creator? Social consensus? Probably a mixture of all of those things, but there are always exceptions to each aspect that makes it a chair. You can sit on a bed. A piece of furniture with four legs and a back could easily be a couch, and there are plenty of chairs that don't have those things (are stools chairs?). Its builder might have intended to make a table, but you end up sitting on it (and someone else might have made a really shitty chair that its users end up putting junk on instead of sitting on it). And society as a collective thinks some really stupid things, so forget about that angle.

But fine, the chair I'm talking about is still a chair. So shrink it in your mind. Make it the size of a toy. A doll can sit in it now. Is it still a chair? Is dollhouse furniture furniture? Are dog beds beds? Is this dumb little knick-knack still a chair because you can put it in a dollhouse or sit a stuffed animal in it, or did it stop being a chair because you can't sit on it anymore? Now imagine the chair comically larger, with the seat towering over your head. Put it in a museum atrium, call it modern art. Is it still a chair? Is it a sculpture of a chair? At any point in this exercise did the chair stop being a chair?

Now let's go back through time with the chair. I don't mean time traveling with the chair, though that would be a neat trick. I mean looking through the life of that chair. When did it start being a chair? Was it when it was designed? When the first piece of wood was cut? When the first nail was hammered in? When the last nail was hammered in? When it was labeled as a chair and sent to a store? When it was first sat on? It can't have perpetually existed as a chair, because at some point it was wood, leather, metal, and very little stuffing that had to me refined and manufactured and put together into something we all now recognize is a chair. And will it ever stop being a chair? If the legs break but I leave it on the floor and sit on it when I watch TV, is it still a chair? Is it still a chair if only the cushion is left? Does it only stop being a chair when I throw it out and it won't be sat on by anyone again? Will it re-chair if someone takes it out of the trash? And when did this paragraph just become the Ship of Theseus problem?

We can generally agree that this chair I describe is a chair. There's some sort of conceptual consensus. Perhaps it really does have universal chair nature we can simply recognize. Or maybe it isn't a chair, because it's just a fucking image I'm describing and none of that big-chair small-chair crap ever happened with this chair to begin with, so at most these are all hypothetical chairs that will never actually be chairs in any way.

This whole chair experiment shows how stupid the very idea of A is A is.

A isn't A. The second one's an Alpha.

A isn't A. The first one is an upside-down stick figure devil head.

A isn't a.

A isn't A

A is A, but only because I copied and pasted that first A to where the second A is. And those two As after aren't the same A. And fuck it, those first two As also aren't the same, either.

There are so many bullshit questions without actual answers about concepts and the nature of things that we can't be certain about chair-ness. How can we possibly consistently evaluate anything's A-ness?

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2017, 01:01:27 am »
Sometimes a chair is a barstool.

:barstool:
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 01:02:08 am »
If someone picks up said barstool and beats you with it, A becomes A very quickly, indeed.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Beck Nergal

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 01:17:17 am »
Sometimes a chair is a barstool.

:barstool:


That's not a barstool, that's clearly a spaceship shaped like a barstool, flying through the heavens.

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 01:34:39 am »
Have you had the sandwich argument yet?

A leaf of romaine between two leaves of iceberg lettuce is a sandwich.
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Beck Nergal

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 01:46:51 am »
Have you had the sandwich argument yet?

A leaf of romaine between two leaves of iceberg lettuce is a sandwich.

Anything can be a sandwich except a Pop Tart.

Beck Nergal

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 01:49:34 am »
Also, Hot Pockets. Those are never sandwiches. The box says they're sandwiches. The box lies.

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 02:02:34 am »
I can make a sandwich with poptarts or hot pockets, but they are not themselves sandwiches.
Overheating Pheremone Pustule of Last Saturday's Jiggle Fun| _xgeWireToEvent: Unknown extension 131, this should never happen.

Don't fucking judge me, I've got tentacles for a face.

Beck Nergal

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2017, 03:04:53 am »
I can make a sandwich with poptarts or hot pockets, but they are not themselves sandwiches.

Finally, a forum with some people who have some fucking sense!

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2017, 05:01:37 am »
I can make a sandwich with poptarts or hot pockets, but they are not themselves sandwiches.

Is an open-faced sandwich a sandwich?

Because it it is, a poptart is a sandwich.

But agreed on hot pockets.  They are basically a more horrible than usual calzone.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Vanadium Gryllz

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2017, 08:54:01 am »
What are you sandwiching in an open faced sandwich?
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The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2017, 02:26:55 pm »
So if i have an English muffin and split it to stuff with egg, cheese, sausage, and a sweet asian chili sauce is it still a muffin? An English muffin sandwich might require two muffins or maybe the whole thing is an English breakfast calzone...

Here we go again.

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Vanadium Gryllz

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2017, 02:31:31 pm »
So if i have an English muffin and split it to stuff with egg, cheese, sausage, and a sweet asian chili sauce is it still a muffin? An English muffin sandwich might require two muffins or maybe the whole thing is an English breakfast calzone...

Here we go again.

Hi new person  :wave:

Oh yeah - Hi new person and welcome! Thanks for opening this kettle of worms up.
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PoFP

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 02:39:34 pm »
I can make a sandwich with poptarts or hot pockets, but they are not themselves sandwiches.

Is an open-faced sandwich a sandwich?

Because it it is, a poptart is a sandwich.

But agreed on hot pockets.  They are basically a more horrible than usual calzone.

What are you sandwiching in an open faced sandwich?

"Open-faced sandwich" is just a pretentious, hipster way of saying "unfinished sandwich."  :lulz:




OP:

A=A

Period.

The problem is, what we usually perceive is known as A' (A Prime), which is usually very similar to A. The information might be formatted or organized differently from time to time (picturing a chair and describing it linguistically are two very different formats, but each can be quite detailed.), but for the most part, ignoring some missing perceptual information, A' is very much like A.

This concept was described in great detail by a man named Alfred Korzybski, and this concept was perpetuated by Robert Anton Wilson and many others. It is the basis for Alfred Korzybski's invention of E', or English Prime. It is a form of the English language which alters one's perspective of reality by forcing one to point out the several abstraction layers in our perception and interpretation cascade in all linguistic analyses.

If you're interested in this kind of thing, I recommend looking into The Theory of General Semantics. The colleges for it seem to be full of quacks, but the concepts are solid. And Alfred Korzybski, while having this view of language and perception, was still quite sure about the concept of A=A.



And also, welcome to the forums! :)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 02:47:07 pm by PoFP »
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Ziegejunge

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Re: Subjectivism and the chair
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 03:50:33 pm »
Hi new person!

How can we possibly consistently evaluate anything's A-ness?

What about Uranus' A-ness? How deep does this A-ness hole go?!!