CH1 L12: Concept (the realm of abstraction)

  1. When your fear subsided and you could think more clearly, you’d question “Are they the same thing or two different things?” [1]
  2. To answer this question, you’d go back to the first place and find the first thing. Then the idea of two different things consolidates in your mind. [2]

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  1. Looking at the things, you’d easily find them similar. So would your brain need to create two different supersigns [3] for them? Obviously not. It would combine the supersigns and make a hypersign which we call concept. [4]
  2. Etymologically concept means taken together and that’s what your brain did. It took two supersigns together and created the concept of rose. [5]
  3. Now I’m gonna challenge you to do the following activity. Imagine rose. If you found it easy, I should tell you that you imagined a rose not rose. Now try again. This time you might have imagined the word rose which is a symbol [6] for it. Why can’t we imagine rose? Because it is abstract.
  4. Now we’re gonna slowly walk through the realm of abstraction. So, here comes the next example:

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  1. We still group them as rose but we need to ignore their different colors. Now we can see why rose can’t be imagined because it’s colorless.
  2. The two roses have many similarities and their shapes are rather similar. So, in the next step, we try to see how to ignore the shape to create a more abstract concept.

rose-and-calla-lily-francine-henderson.jpg

  1. To create the concept of flower, we even need to put aside the similarity in shapes and think about similar forms.
  2. And finally, to conceive living things we almost need to ignore any physical resemblance between the following horse and rose which is highly abstract.

horse_and_rose_by_stefan69.jpg

  1. Abstract etymologically means to draw away which is what our brain does. It draws away similarities out of differences to create concepts.
  2. Picasso [7] has shown the finest example of abstraction by abstracting a bull. Most probably he was exploring how much he could remove its parts yet we can see it as a bull; in other words, he was drawing away the most important lines which define a bull.

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  1. We’re gonna continue the discussion about abstraction in the next post.

Exercise 12:

  1. Think about yourself and how you’re defined by many concepts such as your gender, race, nationality, religion and so on?

Footnotes:

[1] At this point, the question would be beyond your understanding. You’d start to think about two different things if you experienced them together for the first time. However, the whole journey has been going on so slowly that we’d better speed up.

[2] Still you can’t be sure that there’re two different things. It might be something that magically appeared at different places. Here’s the very first step that we can briefly introduce belief using an analogy. We can say that random data look like gas molecules, they move everywhere until we find out that there’s a pattern or an idea linking them. Then the idea can be analogized to the liquid state of the data. Then if the idea works in different situations, it will freeze to a belief. We’re gonna discuss belief later.

[3] Link to the post about supersign.

[4] We should know that if you had personal attachments or strong reasons with at least one of them, you could hardly combine them and call them one name. That’s why we name our pets or even nickname our friends for special bonds.

[5] Though we haven’t reached the level of language, for simpler communication, we’ll use the real name (or concept) of things.

[6] In the post about language, we’re gonna discuss symbols.

[7] Link to Pablo Picasso.

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