Re: Re(2): New web (whatever the hell you want to call it)

David Rodger (
Thu, 1 Jul 1999 23:01:39 +1000

Jimmy Shen wrote:
>i don't see any point in debating over whether or not Richard's work is
>dance, to me it's like asking whether or not god is male or female, or both,
>or neither.... i think god is whatever you want god to be. i don't think
>the word dance is being used as a value judgement, i think this is wrong.

There's a problem with this, though. The reason that we can communicate is
because our predecessors (over many generations) have come to more-or-less
agreed upon definitions and meanings. They may not be so precise that
every word everyone utters at every occasion would be understood by
everyone else at any occasion, but there has to be some fairly limited
"field" or else we wouldn't even understand one another's words, less the
meaning of them!

I admit that "dance" is probably a harder case than "brick".

>i think the only important thing is
>whether the particular dance has had any profound affect, be it good or bad,
>on someone.

But that alone wouldn't make it a dance. I'm going to apply Goran
Hermeren's conditions that are necessary for 'something' to be a language.
Hermeren says that a language must have discrete and repeatable elements
which are suggestive or evocative of ideas or feelings. (There are five
more conditions, but I won't cite them here.) Now, something which has
discrete and repeatable elements (such as a dance!) might be suggestive or
evocative of ideas or feelings, but so does everything else! So this
condition is not very helpful in deciding whether the thing is a language.
I'd suggest that the same applies if you want to decide whether or not
something is a dance.

David Rodger: Audio Engineer, RLSS Lifeguard Trainer, Writing & Research
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