One of the most important lectures I got in college took place during the first day of what I had assumed to be an otherwise forgettable sociology course, sitting between my roommate and a couple of friends. The lecturer drew this on the board:
And he said, "This is only a chair because we say so. We have agreed it is a chair. Even without me telling you this is a chair, we're all thinking: That's a chair."
He went on, "When I say chair, you're thinking of this chair." He then erased the chair. "Now when I say chair, what are you thinking?"
The societal agreement of the metaphorical concept of chair only works because of the sheer proliferation of chairs and our immediate recognition of the utter chairness of a simple line drawing. Armchair, lawn chair, folding chair, chair at the cafe, chair at the library, school chair, church pew, park bench, bus stop - we're getting a little far from "chair" but I think you can see where I'm going with this when I say - chair - and maybe some of you are thinking about the death of the author on a semiotic level and wondering what your readers are really seeing when you write "chair" - is it the one in their childhood bedroom or the one they sat on in the hospital waiting room or the one in your detective's office - just how much control do you have of your language from your pen to their eyes? But. I digress.
When I say chair and you read chair we only agree on the general concept of chair but in fact, I am saying your chair. I am also saying your butt and by your butt I refer, of course, to the general concept of you.
Your chair is where you are right now. You are in this chair. Not my chair, your chair. There is no chair. There is always a chair. Wherein you are X and your butt is subset Y and this chair is N and time is now - or to put it another way:
Or to put it another way:
Your butt + this chair = write now.
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