[extropy-chat] Puzzle - Short Tale

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Fri Feb 6 02:53:55 UTC 2004

--- "natashavita at earthlink.net"
<natashavita at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Since most monks tend to be fat, going up the hill
> would be tough, and
> coming down would be even faster.
> I can't prove this though. :-(

Keyword: "most".  I rely on that as a trigger,
remembering that in many cases, there are or can exist
exceptions to the dominant rule.  This is an example:
there can be (are, in fact) thin monks, so making a
rule system to take advantage of "all monks are fat"
will not be logically consistent, and can run into
error in practice.  (The odds that it does run into
error depend on the likelihood of encountering a thin
monk, and of thinness mattering in a way someone might
directly or indirectly care about.  Sometimes, errors
of this nature produce only academic effects; everyone
acts as if the rule is true because no one has yet
cared about the artifacts that disjunction creates.)

It fits into an emotional mnemonic I think a number of
this list's members can grok: a codification of
rebellion against authority.  One of the common errors
of commonly-termed "faceless" systems, which aim for
simplicity and efficiency by treating everyone the
same, stems from what happens when individuals rise up
and express the ways in which they differ from the

For instance, say one set up a business around weaving
extra-large robes for monks.  All monks are fat,
right?  So consider what happens when the business
gets an order from certain physically fit Shaolin
monks...who then invoke the customer service (for
anyone commonly referred to by others as a monk)
guarantee, forcing the business to set up a new
production facility to weave slender robes.  But to
prove they're not bad guys, the Shaolin order suggests
a certain village they just happen to have been trying
to bring industry to, which has a number of talented
weavers and much of the necessary infrastructure...

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