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Passions in Poetry

Something really interesting for all of you. . .

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jbouder
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25 posted 11-11-2000 02:10 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Actually, Lone Wolf brings up a good point.  If you are talking about "Why" an orange exists, it leans toward a metaphysical question ... the answer transcends us and, therefore, is not really answerable.

If you are asking, "Why do we apprehend an orange?", I would say we (humans) apprehend and orange because we are reinforced (positively or negatively) by an orange (the stimulus) being present and, as a result, respond to the presence of the stimulus.

Stimulus ---> Response ---> Reinforcement

Take away the "Reinforcement", and there is no reason to acknowledge the presence of the orange or even ask the question "Why is an orange".  (This is one explanation for the varying degrees of detachment evident in people with autism).

We acknowledge the presence of an orange, or the feature of something being the color orange, because it reinforces a response (aversion -- an orange Hawaiin shirt, hunger -- a big, fat California orange, and warning -- as in the case of orange cones in the road --).  

Or something like that.

Jim

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26 posted 11-12-2000 04:46 PM       View Profile for Dopey Dope   Email Dopey Dope   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dopey Dope

Because I say so



I was born myself, raised myself, and will continue to be myself. The world will just have to adjust.

I hate your socks. I'd like to burn them!

Sunshine
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27 posted 11-13-2000 01:27 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

but what if one is colorblind? What is it then?

Karilea
If I whisper, will you listen?...
I would rather be silent and write, than speak loudly and be bound.
KRJ



Sven
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28 posted 11-13-2000 11:07 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

You would ask that Karilea!  

--------------------------------------------------------

That which gives light must endure burning
--Victor Frankl

Tony Di Bart
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29 posted 11-13-2000 11:10 PM       View Profile for Tony Di Bart   Email Tony Di Bart   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tony Di Bart

" Why is an orange?"

An orange is because it is not. A frog dives
beneath the water when it reaches for the sky. A tear leaves your eye when the butterfly lands on a lilac.  

An orange is why? In the middle of the one hand claping,just before you see your face before you were born that is why an orange is .  An orange is the holder of all the secrets of the universe that is Why an orange is.....etc etc etc...

Why is an orange?

Masked Intruder
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30 posted 11-14-2000 04:19 PM       View Profile for Masked Intruder   Email Masked Intruder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Masked Intruder

An orange is for the same reason I is.  When the daddy orange tree and the mommy orange tree met they fell madly in love.  They went to movies and had dinner together many times. Quite often they could be found together watching the sun rise or set, depending on which side of the hill they were on.  One day the mommy orange tree got pregnant and oranges popped up all over her. I used to be an orange once, when I was still in my mommy's tummy.  I dont' really remember what it was like, but I'm sure it was exciting.  
jbouder
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31 posted 11-14-2000 05:00 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Maybe I'm just being a wet blanket but I am having trouble with this (I can't decide whether I am having more trouble with the question or with the cute answers).  The original question is either serious or it is bait to draw the prospective answerer into a semantic maze.  

I assumed the question was intended to be taken seriously so my answer was serious.  Was I wrong?
monique
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32 posted 11-14-2000 07:36 PM       View Profile for monique   Email monique   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for monique

Why is an orange?

it contains vitamin C it is good for us to eat, it is refreshing, a ripe orange,mmmmmm.
If it is sour a bit, i sprinkle salt on it.
God gave the orange a nice color and form to look at, set on your table, in your lunch box, in the middle of green grass and if your are bored you can play ball with it.





[This message has been edited by monique (edited 11-15-2000).]
Sven
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33 posted 11-14-2000 07:40 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

Jim, you weren't wrong. . .it's a real question. . . with a real answer. . .

It's kinda Zen-like. . . like the "sound of one hand clapping" or "if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?"

I feel that you're having trouble with this just because you want to analyze it. . . you want to understand it. . . and that's a good thing. . . but in your analyzing of it, you're lost. . . you're used to things having somewhat definite answers. . . and this question really does have a definitive answer. . . and, conversely, it doesn't have a definintive answer. . .

I know that I'm being ambiguous while being totally unclear here Jim. . . but maybe if you approach it from that "Zen" standpoint that I've presented here. . . you might see it. . . I'll reveal the answer soon. . . I promise. . .

-------------------------------------------------------



That which gives light must endure burning
--Victor Frankl

Romy
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34 posted 11-14-2000 09:09 PM       View Profile for Romy   Email Romy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Romy

Because we have delegated it to be so...
Ryan
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35 posted 11-14-2000 09:53 PM       View Profile for Ryan   Email Ryan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ryan

Ironically, I think all the "cute answers" are probably the closest to the truth.  An orange simply is.  It is because I want an orange.  It is because I don't want an orange.  It is because it is not an apple and it is because it is not a pear.  It is because mommy and daddy orange made sweet love up in the top of the tree (am I allowed to say that?).  This bring to mind an interesting book called "The Scripture of the Golden Eternity" by Jack Kerouac.  It is essentially his adaptation of Buddhism (to fit with his Catholic upbringing).  Everything is, but is not.  It is an interesting idea (though I admit I have not made it through the whole thing yet...maybe someday).  So, there is a definitive answer, but it isn't definitive.

Ryan


I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
—Jack Kerouac

Trew
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36 posted 11-15-2000 08:52 AM       View Profile for Trew   Email Trew   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trew

Why is an orange?

Evolution.

jbouder
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37 posted 11-15-2000 12:52 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Sven:

  
quote:
I feel that you're having trouble with this just because you want to analyze it. . . you want to understand it. . . and that's a good thing. . . but in your analyzing of it, you're lost. . . you're used to things having somewhat definite answers. . . and this question really does have a definitive answer. . . and, conversely, it doesn't have a definintive answer. . .


Okay.  Perhaps, from the point of view of Zen Buddhism, I am lost by my insistance that the question requires analysis. To a behaviorist, I think my answer is pretty close to the mark.  Since humans exhibit human behavior regardless of philosophical world view, I think my answer is superior to the Zen answer.

The question is "Why is an orange."

Again, if the question is a metaphysical question, a good answer would be "The orange simply is."

But if the heart of the question is why an orange becomes an object of our attention, contemplation, meditation or whatever, I think the basic behavioral model I mentioned above is the better answer:

Stimulus ---> Response ---> Reinforcement

If the orange did not cause some sort of reinforcement (positive or negative), no response would be likely to follow (not a Zen response, not a Western response, not an etymological response, etc.).

Your question cannot be separated from the verbal community and, therefore, cannot be divorced from human behavior.  Your answer may be a Zen-like answer to the question but it is still founded on a behavioral model.

The Stimulus is question "Why is an orange" ---> Your Response is your yet-to-be revealed Zen-like answer ---> But why the Response??? ... because responding to the question is Reinforcing to you (positively or negatively).

The model works just as well for those answering cute answers.  The Stimulus is the original question ---> A satisfactory answer escapes the questioner who Responds in a comedic manner because ---> Making a joke is more Reinforcing than saying "I don't know" to the answerer in this case.

For those who don't have an answer or don't understand the Stimulus (the original question) ---> their Response is silence which is ---> Reinforcing for any number of reasons, including saving the answerer the embarrassment of answering the original question in a way that may be perceived by some as being the wrong answer.

You may offer your Zen-like answer and it may differ from all of those offered previously.  But what underlies your question (assuming it is not a metaphysical question) is why we human beings apprehend an orange and, therefore, I believe the answer lies in an examination of why we entertain an answer to the question in the first place.

Do you disagree?

Jim



[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 11-15-2000).]
Jamie
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38 posted 11-15-2000 03:38 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

An Orange is because we allow it to be - having not yet added it to the list of the extinct.  

Genetic diversity helps maintain and improve domestic crops.  Wild strains often contain genes which can be crossed with their domesticated counterparts to better protect crops against pests and diseases.the Green Revolution, by encouraging the use of only a few exceptional crop strains, spread those same successful strains across the agricultural world and squeezed out native varieties.  Without a diversity of strains, crops become overly homogenous and vulnerable to mass blight.In Brazil in 1991, for example, the genetic similarity of the orange trees opened the door for the worst outbreak of citrus canker in history. As long as wild strains still exist and evolve, we can protect our crops from becoming too vulnerable.  But an estimated 1/4 of plant species could die out by the year 2020 largely due to human factors, and by destroying the diversity of plants in our rainforests, we put our domestic plants --- and our own lives --- at risk.

ps-- I'm not really a granola crunching, sandal wearing tree hugger  


Jamie

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito. - Virgil.
"Yield thou not to adversity, but press on the more bravely".

Romy
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39 posted 11-15-2000 05:34 PM       View Profile for Romy   Email Romy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Romy

"How can we know why something is (or should be) a certain way
if we don't know why there is anything at all?"

Robert Nozick

Moon Dust
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40 posted 11-15-2000 06:23 PM       View Profile for Moon Dust   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Moon Dust

because it's the way we precive it to be?

Nah I give up theres no answer

Sometimes you have to let go and move on,
But never let go of the memories.

Sven
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41 posted 11-15-2000 11:03 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

Jim, I'd disagree with you. . . but I have no idea what you're talking about. . .

It's just a question. . . it's not really as involved as you might make it out to be. . .

I do appreciate your explanation though. . . but again, you're trying to go too in-depth. . .

Just my opinion. . . thanks for your insight. . .  

--------------------------------------------------------

That which gives light must endure burning
--Victor Frankl

Lone Wolf
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42 posted 11-16-2000 01:29 AM       View Profile for Lone Wolf   Email Lone Wolf   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Lone Wolf

Okay gang,

The answer to why is an orange is . . .

drumroll please . . . .


BECAUSE COWS DON'T GROW ON TREES!!!!!!  

LW



Poetry should surprise by fine excess...it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts and appear almost a remembrance. -J.Keats
Romy
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43 posted 11-16-2000 07:39 AM       View Profile for Romy   Email Romy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Romy

ORANGE-ya gonna tell us?
jbouder
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44 posted 11-16-2000 12:21 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Prometheus:

I'm not convinced that the orange "is" because we allow it to be.  We certainly have the power to significantly reduce the number of oranges in the world but eradication is another matter.  I just don't think the natural balance is as fragile as some make it sound (that is not to say that we shouldn't be careful).

Debbie:

If Sven means his question to be understood metaphysically, I agree with your quote.

Sven:

Look up "B. F. Skinner" and "behavioral analysis".  

Your question is open ended and subject to several interpretations that must be sorted out before an adequate answer can be reached.  In a sense, every answer is correct and every answer is wrong.

This is precisely why I think that the question behind the question, rather than the elusive answer, ought to be the focus.  What is the constant?  The constant is foundational elements of human behavior involved in contemplating the question in the first place.

For us (subjectively) the orange "is" because its presence is either positively or negatively reinforcing.

For the physicist, the neutrino is because its existence is reinforcing.  To me, the only reinforcement I get out of "neutrino" is knowing the word (I know almost nothing more about it).

Is this confusing?  Sure it is.  Behavioral analysis is somewhat complicated but, foundationally, it is superior to many of its rivals.

Still looking forward to your answer.

Jim

Sven
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45 posted 11-16-2000 12:49 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

Well, it's right above. . . given by Lone Wolf. . . (who, I will say, had an unfair advantage as I've told her this once before. . .)

Why is an orange?

Because cows don't grow on trees

This is the real answer. . . it's not something that I made up. . . it's the answer. . . I was asked this question back in high school by a friend of mine. . . and he swore to me that he had not made it up either. . .that it was a real question with a real answer. . . and I have had the question asked of me by other people throught my life. . . people who were quite surprised to hear that I knew the answer!

Now, I know most of you are saying, "What kind of @#$^%@) answer is that?"  But, if you think about it. . . it makes sense. . .what if cows did grow on trees?  Would we still call them cows?  

What if cows were orange?  Would we call them oranges?  What if oranges gave milk?  What would we do then???

I hope that you will think about this for a few days. . .or the rest of your life. . .try it on your friends. . .see what they say. . .

And Jim, I know about most of what you're talking about. . . but do you see where that really doesn't fit here?  I mean, this kind of takes all those rules and things and throws them out the window doesn't it?

Thank you all for your time, and your answers. . . this has been very entertaining and fun. . .  

----------------------------------------------------------




That which gives light must endure burning
--Victor Frankl

jbouder
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46 posted 11-16-2000 01:26 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

quote:
And Jim, I know about most of what you're talking about. . . but do you see where that really doesn't fit here?  I mean, this kind of takes all those rules and things and throws them out the window doesn't it?


Um ... actually, it illustrates the truth of the rule rather nicely.  Let me explain.

If cows were orange, it is conceivable that a participant in the verbal community would picture what we see as a cow in our minds when that person hears the word "orange"  spoken.  

Why is an orange?

Because cows don't grow on trees.
Because oranges don't give milk.
Because they are not blue.

Tacting, or labeling, is one of the most basic forms of verbal behavior (we begin doing it the first time we associate a word with a thing ... momma, dadda, etc.).  We are able to communicate in our verbal communities because we use similar tacts or labels.  If when you said "cow" you meant "orange", and every one else thought "Brad" when you said "cow" (sorry Brad), there would be udder confusion (sorry ... very bad pun).  But if cows were orange and grew on trees, when you say "orange" people may very well picture what we would think of as a cow.

Your question and answer illustrate what I've been saying all along.  Our language in the verbal community would be impacted significantly if cows grew on trees and oranges gave milk.  THAT is what would happen.  I don't think there would be confusion ... we would simply use different words, phrases, and idioms to communicate.

You answer "Why is an orange?" with "Because cows don't grow on trees" but you don't answer the "Why" that lies behind both your question AND your answer.  The answer to THAT question lies in human behavior and, specifically, in human verbal behavior.

Jim

P.S.  What do you mean "this has been fun"?  I'm only getting started!  

P.P.S.  Thanks for reading my rant.  
Romy
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47 posted 11-16-2000 01:26 PM       View Profile for Romy   Email Romy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Romy

Jim, you beat me to this post! Although mine isn't as technical, I have written a similar response that agrees with your opinion!


"this question really does have a definitive answer. . . and, conversely, it doesn't have a definintive answer.."


If this statement is true, then all of these quotes from the other people who posted should be correct…am I wrong?


"Simple...because it's not a plum"

"it's because it's not an apple"

"because it's not a banana!"  

"An orange is because it is orange"

"Because it is!"

"because its an orange"

"An orange is for the same reason I is"

"Because we have delegated it to be so..."

"It is because it is not an apple and it is because it is not a pear."

"An Orange is because we allow it to be"

" because it's the way we precive it to be?"


"BECAUSE COWS DON'T GROW ON TREES!!!!!!"


This is the real answer

What if cows were orange? Would we call them oranges? What if oranges gave milk? What would we do then???

If cows were orange, we may have decided to call them that, but we call them cows. And they don’t grow on trees, therefore we have not named them oranges!

AND SO...

Why is a cow?  Because oranges don’t give milk!


[This message has been edited by Debbie (edited 11-16-2000).]
Brad
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48 posted 11-16-2000 04:12 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jim's right here as is Debbie.

The answer seems to be along the lines of Bilbo Baggins riddle "What's in my pocket?"

If you don't look, there's no way to tell what's going to be the answer.

Sarte called this type of psuedo-dialectical thinking true but not very useful.

But what nobody has considered is that no real context has been given (Lone Wolf, on the other hand, had a context and thus got the 'real' answer). We could just as easily perform an Abbot and Costello routine here:

"Why is an orange?"

meaning something like "Do you have or know an orange named why?"

the answer would then be yes or no depending on the situation.

What bothers me here is not the answer but the explanation:

Why is an orange?

Because cows don't grow on trees

This is the real answer. . . it's not something that I made up. . . it's the answer. . . I was asked this question back in high school by a friend of mine. . . and he swore to me that he had not made it up either. . .that it was a real question with a real answer. . . and I have had the question asked of me by other people throught my life. . . people who were quite surprised to hear that I knew the answer!

--This is argument by assertion, not persuasion. Why use the term 'real' and not correct? You provide no documentation for your assertion (a friend and others who knew the question already does not count as documentation because they are simply asserting the same thing you are: because it is). You seem unwilling to accept that the answer has to be multiple (indeed infinite) without a context.

--This is rather authoritarian, don't you think? On what grounds should I believe you as opposed to others? Simply because?

--As Jim pointed out, this doesn't throw the rules out the window, it is a perfect example of those rules, of current theories of language and philosophy. All phonetic and graphic signs are arbitrary; they have no connection to the 'signified' and thus can be used in any way that you want. It is only the verbal community, the culture of any group that allows understanding (such as it is) to take place in the first place.

In this case, the 'culture' is your friends and other who are in the same community. This is actually a tautology. By knowing the answer to the question, you become part of the community by definition.

Is it possible to get the 'real' answer without being a part of that community?

Sure, but the odds, it seems to me, can easily be calculated as a fluke. You can believe in some sort of metaphysical truth to all of this but I don't buy it for one second.

Brad

PS Who's on first?  
Not A Poet
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49 posted 11-16-2000 04:41 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Brad, the answer to your question, "Who's on first," although it's really a statement rather than a question, is yes, if my memory serves me correctly.

Pete
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