Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] [Zendo] Another Spock Rule question

  • FromJoshua Kronengold <mneme@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateWed, 03 Aug 2011 14:07:29 -0400
Shadowfirebird <shadowfirebird@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>Agreed, if the rule was: "a koan is valid if it spells (using the
>outlined in appendix A) one of the words in appendix B."  then --
>that English is not external to Zendo -- that would be a valid rule. 
>But a
>really, really silly one.

Functionally, the rule is embedding the English language--or rather, a particular scrabble dictionary.  No arguments at all about a spelling rule being a really silly one; rules like that are bad rules--but they don't break the rules in the same manner as "a koan has the buddha nature if it contains a shadow."

>Doug, is light a "physical thing"?  It's certainly true that a rule
>depend on a pattern of shadows.

I think Doug has internalized the real "principle of externality", but I concur that his expression of it left something to be desired.

The key insight is that the rule of externality has very little to do with rules.  Specifically, given:

1.  A rule must always mark the same koan the same way.

One need not reference rules at all in order to express the principle of externality, which I'd specify this way:

2. A koan contains only an unbroken, infinite horiontal surface (the surface) and its component pieces.  All koans containing exactly the same color and size of pieces, in the same physical relationship to one another and to the surface, are identical.

>These are just my opinions.  I'm not saying that anyone is wrong to
>have differing ones.

This isn't really about opinion, though.  A rule that prohibits you from treating identical koans differently (and then says what makes koans identical) is very different than a rule that prevents you from referncing stuff outside the koan in any way; neither is a subset of the other.