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Deeper Understanding

(c) Timo Baumann, May-June 1997, March 1998
All rights reserved.
Especially the rights of publishing, translation and public presentation.

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   A chair is a chair. Well, many people would say so but is that really right? Let’s look at a chair a little bit closer, and to make it more easy, let’s take one of these school chairs we spent half our lives in.

   The main part of this chair is metal. I would guess that it is stainless steal, but I am not sure about that. A lot of steal is produced in Chicago. The coal comes from somewhere on Lake Superior and the ore comes from the Appalachians -- I learned that in Geography. If the metal wasn’t iron but gold, then it most likely comes from
South Africa or from Alaska, even the biggest gold reserves in the world are found in Russia -- I learned that in Geography, too. My point right here is: I have no point.

   Some people don’t call chairs chairs. People in Germany say ‘Stühle’ (that is the plural, singular would be ‘Stuhl’, but who cares), people in Spain say ‘la silla’ - I don’t know what the plural is, I didn’t learn that yet. Let’s just stick with German, this paper then would sound something like this: ‘Ein Stuhl ist ein Stuhl. Naja, viele Leute behaupten das, aber ist es wirklich wahr?’ I guess you didn’t understand a word, so I will drop this. It would become boring anyway when we come to the point were the translation of the first paragraph starts, would I write that again in German? (The Germans would already know that part so it makes no sense) Should I write in English again? No, we already had that in English. So, what about Spanish? I am afraid, that won’t work, I started studying Spanish yesterday, I only know what chair is in Spanish. ‘La silla’. Charlotte could help me and translate this paper to Swedish. She isn’t here now, oh well.

   What about the wood part of the chair? This, let’s call it ‘thing’ even it is supposed to be called desk is annoying. Well, the only thing I can say is, that I think, that it is annoying. I mean, you can’t really sleep on it because it is too big and you can’t really write on it because it is too small. At least if you are writing the stuff you are supposed to write and a letter at the same time -- in this case to Germany, in German and without using the word ‘Stuhl’.

   What if I wanted this paper to be a narration? I could talk to the chair: "Hello chair." - "Hello Timo." - "How is it going?" - "Pretty good, thank you." You see, this is not really interesting and I have not seen any chair talk to anybody. At least, not outside my imagination and it is only a matter of opinion which is more important, the real world or the one I imagine in my mind, but this is getting too philosophically.

   Remains this yellowish plastic part, where you are actually sitting in. I cannot say a lot about it, except that it has these three long holes in it. I always wonder, what these holes are for, but I did not figure it out yet. They are probably just an old thing you don’t need anymore but needed in earlier times, like the appendix. Otherwise, I never heard of appendicitis together with these holes.

   So, let’s review what this paper is about: It is about metal, wood, plastic, translating stuff, retarded people talking to chairs and -- well, that’s it. So, what did we learn? A chair is not necessarily just a chair.


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(c) 1998 by Timo Baumann, last updated: