Editorial – June 2014: The world is an exact place. Nothing is ever mere.

May 31, 2014 | By | Reply More

The world is an exact place.

Nothing is ever mere.

Hello everyone

Look to the first line of the introduction. ‘The world is an exact place.’ If you don’t think we live in a precise world, remember when you’re using a search engine or typing a website and you put in a wrong letter or number and turns up the wrong entries. Search engines try to encompass more in their choices but such algorithms are just imprecise and don’t really help you.

Whether you like it or not, we’re already living in a precise world. Understanding the level of preciseness and making it work for you comes largely about because of our acceptance of it. There’s little choice unless you have a desire not to find anything on the Net. Using it in everyday life should therefore be very much second nature. Yet, oddly, it isn’t. There might be a greater acceptance of what is but most people treat the real and digital worlds as separate entities rather part of the same thing.

pulpy pulp

Is precision just a need for computers though? I mean, we’ve been living with it for a long time. Most of you have watches and those of you who drive probably have satellite-navigation devices. All acts of precision. In fact, without that kind of time precision, sat-navs wouldn’t work. Mind you, considering the year is actually three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter days, give or take a few micro-seconds which is sorted out on a leap year shows how precision is adding another layer to the world. Of course, there isn’t a quarter day. It’s about a little less than a minute a day but it if isn’t accounted for, as happened with the Julian calendar, then we wouldn’t have the precision of time we have today. Mind you, no one has thought to re-define time-pieces to match those few seconds because we’re all used to using a leap year to sort things out. That’s only one example. There is precision in most things. If anything, the regular use of computers has just enhanced our awareness of it. I doubt if computer software would know any difference because it works in absolutes. It doesn’t know how to be inexact. Nothing is mere!

Using this awareness should be second-nature, yet ever the rebel, Man doesn’t always see it that way. I mean, you’re the one who sticks to identifying yourself with one imprecise label. See what I mean now about better definition?

Look at the second line above and ponder on its implications. ‘Nothing is ever mere.’ By definition, ‘mere’ means insignificant. Something you under-estimate. Yet everything has its own level of importance. Nothing should be discounted. Nothing ignored. Nothing is ever ‘mere’! In other words, everything is significant! That doesn’t mean everything is important, just that everything is more than their labels suggest. To say that you reading this are merely human downplays all the other qualities that make you what you are.

To some extent, I’ve discussed labelling before. I don’t see myself as being human for instance. There are so many other qualities that are associated with me that make me more of a unique individual that it’s way down in the list. It’s a useful exercise because if you define yourself by your own unique qualities and what you see as being important to you then you’ll also find that ‘mere’ doesn’t apply to you neither. This has nothing to do with ego but it will measure your own uniqueness and a way to remind yourself that you are no mere human. You are the sum of a variety of qualities that should make you stand out as a complex individual. If you suffer from low esteem, then reminding yourself of this should, if nothing else, brighten your day and remind you that you aren’t ‘mere’ and are made of something more substantial. There might be a problem that you might share unique qualities with many other people but the number of combinations would actually reduce that number significantly.

A lot of the time, labels become abbreviated and often their true meaning ignored. Even the labels you call yourself are identifiers to that fact. Something I learnt from General Semantics a long time ago is that labelling is an imprecise act in identifying what is out in the world.

There are, for instance, a lot of different chairs but they all serve the same function but what do you see as the most important? Function or decoration. Straight legs or office chairs with wheels? Comfort or business? How you identify your needs helps you choose the type of chair that is better for you. It doesn’t matter really what the name of the chair is compared to the function except when you need to identify it to somebody else when buying. In a furniture shop, you can describe to the salesperson what you’re after or just point one out. On-line, you either click through a google of images to find a name or luck out on a website as it seeks to find what you’re after, ignoring any other possibilities. Oddly, these tend to go for things like price and make, long before where it’s going to be used. The name of the chair itself is immaterial. Function over title. The label reduced in significance.

I think in that regard, things become imprecise. After all, you can use an office chair in the home and a standard chair in the office. Either can be comfortable. There’s little discrimination in anything but name. When you combine this with different languages or countries, you can suddenly realise how localised things become. I’m still finding it somewhat amusing regarding recent news items about standing up to type because it would also mean raising the height of my table to be comfortable with the screen and keyboard before realising that I would have to spread Word’s page to fill the screen than the oblong shape I normally use. Not that I’m sure if I would do it for long because it would mean I would be concentrating on doing too many things at once and my imagination likes me working sitting down because its one less thing to think about. Being flexible means never taking anything for granted and preparing to see if anything else works better for you.

At an unconscious level, you might realise these things but being aware on a conscious level makes you far more aware of what is going on about you. If something doesn’t fit within these perimeters then you’ll be aware that something isn’t right. After all, you’re no longer a mere and you’ll know what precisely what you are. It is better to measure by knowing exactly what you are that will remind you of your uniqueness.


Thank you, take care, good night and be precise if not exact.


Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk


A Zen thought: Think of a triangle as being a square missing one of its sides and a circle as missing its corners.


Observation: With the film ‘2010’, the Leonov uses and throws off its protective balloons after aerobraking around Jupiter. So, what does it use when it returns to Earth to slow down? I had a think about that and figured that as the Russian crew was awake, they would still cut their velocity at the half-way stage and coast home.



Category: Culture

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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