Thursday, April 21, 2005

Definitions

It just occured to me how some people need to have a famous name associated with something for it to have any value, or for an idea to have hold any water. It's as if people don't always realize that it's not the name of definition of something that gives it value.

Say that someone hears a song that they find sort of catchy. They ask whoever is listening to it what it is, and find out that it's some obscure indie band that's never even been close to the charts. That someone would probably just forget about it unless it's there's a known name they can associate with the music. Or if in a philosophical discussion someone brings up a really good thought, someone asks "who was it who said that, Kant?", and the one who brought it up says that, no, I thought of it myself, then that idea has much less weight for the listeners than if there was a famous name backing it.

Are you familiar with the Tommy Hilfiger line of clothing/various junk? None of the merchandise is actually made by any specific company, the production is all outsourced and just about the only contribution he makes is putting his name on it and raising the price. (No offense to Tommy or any of his fans/customers.)

Even though it sounds odd, something can exist even though there's no definition of it. In the same way, a person can discover or realize something without ever having been told about it, like someone thinking of the same ideas as Marx without ever hearing of him.

Just because there's no name for it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

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