The last two posts have been about when (not) to count something and how to count to one. I feel the need to go a little further and ask you to consider the possibility that most questions about counting to one have been addressed in the arts and literature. Way back when, we were taught in school four major conflicts in literature that every story could be reduced to:
- Man vs. man.
- Man vs. society.
- Man vs. nature.
- Man vs. self.
Let’s revise these and replace “man” with “person.” This is not to be politically correct. (although I was accused of that when explaining the Comonwealth’s version of Zaphod Breeblebox why we used the term “First-time in College” instead of “Freshman”. FTIC is simply more accurate in at least three dimensions.) So then we have:
- Person vs. person.
- Person vs. society.
- Person vs. nature.
- Person vs. self.
Of course, this is perhaps a bit specific for those of us that are fans of anthropomorphic literature and and science fiction/fantasy in which even “personhood” may be questionable.
- Entity vs. entity.
- Entity vs. society.
- Entity vs. nature.
- Entity vs. self.
And now we have a way to talk about conflict and interaction for every data pursuit, big or little. We can think about the interactions of a data entity on another, or others. We can think about how externalities impact an entity, as well as the internalities of the entity itself. (This is especially useful if we are talking about entities within object-oriented programming models and methods, properties, and so on.)
By considering language and meaning in defining One and how literary and artistic history affects our understanding of the language, we can develop new insights to the data and apply existing solutions to our problems of comprehension. The deep, rich history of cautionary tales throughout ancient and contemporary arts literature provide myriad guideposts.
The arts also help us understand the nature of One.
So few people have read A Tenure Line that I am not surprised this has gone without comment. At the end of the synopsis I left out any mention of the closing number, One. In “A Chorus Line,” after all the personal stories and the audience has become invested in seeing each character as an individual, all that goes away. Individuals are placed in identical, uniform costumes, singing the same words, dancing the same choreography. Striving for uniform range of motion. Sameness. Eight individuals are now one chorus.
(My old boss at the SIUE University Museum was fond of pointing out, “The sign outside says ‘university’ – ‘uni’ means one!”)
Almost everything you need to know about learning to count to one and the translation regime can be learned through the study of “A Chorus Line.”
After all, the most glorious words in the English language are “musical comedy.”