Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Think for Yourself, Schmuck! => Topic started by: Beck Nergal on August 11, 2017, 12:53:21 am

Title: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Beck Nergal 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?
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on August 11, 2017, 01:01:27 am
Sometimes a chair is a barstool.

:barstool:
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger 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.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Beck Nergal 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.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth 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.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Beck Nergal 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.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Beck Nergal on August 11, 2017, 01:49:34 am
Also, Hot Pockets. Those are never sandwiches. The box says they're sandwiches. The box lies.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on August 11, 2017, 02:02:34 am
I can make a sandwich with poptarts or hot pockets, but they are not themselves sandwiches.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Beck Nergal 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!
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger 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.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Vanadium Gryllz on August 11, 2017, 08:54:01 am
What are you sandwiching in an open faced sandwich?
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: The Wizard Joseph 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.

Hi new person  :wave:
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Vanadium Gryllz 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.
  :x
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: PoFP 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! :)
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Ziegejunge 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?!!
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: PoFP on August 11, 2017, 04:09:06 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?!!

 :lulz:
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on August 11, 2017, 07:43:59 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.

An open faced sandwich is not a sandwich. Neither is a burrito, a hot dog in a bun, or a wrap.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on August 11, 2017, 10:36:32 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.

An open faced sandwich is not a sandwich. Neither is a burrito, a hot dog in a bun, or a wrap.

Who makes all these fuckin' rules?
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on August 12, 2017, 12:39:43 am
Me.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on August 12, 2017, 03:36:45 am
Me.

 :argh!:
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: LMNO on August 12, 2017, 03:37:08 pm
A=A because "A" is a game rule.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on August 13, 2017, 07:01:13 am
A=A because "A" is a game rule.

There's always some shady chick from back east willing to homebrew the rules.  Drow PCs. Half-dragon templates.  Fucking sandwich-nerfing.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Cramulus on August 15, 2017, 02:23:37 pm
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?

Hi new guy!


So, for the most part, I'm with you - I operate with the premise that meaning and identity is something generated by us meat people in order to make sense of the chaos, not an inherent property of stuff in the universe. So meaning is best understood as a social construct. The best meaning is the one with the most operational utility - that is, the one that "best fits" our internal models of how the world works. A chair is a chair because we agree that it's a chair, despite that our definition of a chair is going to be fuzzy and have edge cases. There is no essential chairness somewhere in conceptual space. The physical chair is not an expression of some quintessential chair.

And if we connect the dots from that logic, we arrive in a (perhaps) terrifying universe with no inherent meaning. My man Camus says that this is okay, because our generated meaning is enough. Things can be meaningful for personal reasons, even if those reasons aren't some fundamental truth. Meaning is absurd, but let's dance with it anyway.



All that being said, I'm at a phase in my life where I am trying to find my way through the postmodern tunnel. I am exploring a reality tunnel in which there are capital-T Truths out there, however they probably don't have anything to do with the essential nature of chairs. I think there is a form of Meaning and Purpose which does exist, and it has to do with our relationship with the chaos/cosmos, and the edges of it can be discovered through self discovery.




It's a little tangential to your post, but I get the sense you may dig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which unpacks Aristotle's analytical knife, the way he splits up the universe into distinct parts, and the deep rifts this has caused today (namely by cleaving apart the arts and sciences, rational and aesthetic, into different metaphysical categories)
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Freeky on August 20, 2017, 07:56:17 pm

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?

So, I have a rebuttal to this.

A is A, if you are typing in good faith and not deliberately doing something funky with your meaning, like an upside down devil head. When typing, A has the same value every time. It never moves on your keyboard, and you always have to push the shift key at some point before hitting the a key.

Mathmatically speaking, A = A. You can't have A = A and the first A = 2 and the second A = 9. That's not logical as far as math through highschool goes. Don't know about higher maths.

One the other hand, A is not A in the sense that they are different points in time. Even copy/paste does not make them the same, because 1) you have to select the first A and then copy it, then paste it, making the process completely different, and 2) they are different points in time.
Title: Re: Subjectivism and the chair
Post by: Prelate Diogenes Shandor on August 23, 2017, 06:17:42 pm
The more I think about it, the more I recognize that Plato and Ayn Rand were both full of crap

Wait... The fact that Plato was full of crap isn't immediately apparent to some people?