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   RE: RE: [xml-dev] text, regular expressions

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Yep.  there are schools of thought that 
describe the social consensus about reality 
in terms of "myths" used to describe reality. 
As long as the descriptions are consented 
to and work for the situations described, 
that is, provide reasonably consistent 
and often, predictable results, that's fine. 

So as useful as a regular expression is 
for locating some arbitrary item in a 
text string, the value is in the interpretation 
of the string returned, not the regular 
expression.  Not new news certainly. 

It's very easy to become fascinated with 
the make of a car and forget where one 
is supposed to go in it.  There is something 
to Dumbledore's admonition about living 
in dreams of ones' heart's desire and 
forgetting to live.  XML, The Web, and 
even much of the content, is just stuff, 
an image in a mirror.


From: Eric Bohlman [mailto:ebohlman@earthlink.net]

7/9/02 9:39:22 AM, "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com> wrote:

>And how shall we know the good, Phaedrus?  A regular expression can locate a 
>statement, but without the context, what does it tell me?  I do not need to 
>open up and disect my watch to tell the time.   I need to tell my watch the 
>time and then trust it to remind me.  If time is a myth (what really happens 
>at the international dateline?), does my watch need to be told that?

I'm not sure what "time is a myth" really means, but I think it is important to remember that the 
assignment of numbers to stages of the Earth's rotation along its axis and its rotation around the 
sun is in fact a social construct, not the representation of some _a priori_ truth.  We create 
concepts like time zones and the IDL out of our desire that the mapping of numbers to astronomical 
phenomena be the same in all places; we don't want "1200" to mean sunrise in one place and sunset in 
another.  The way we represent time is an arbitrary convention, not an expression of physical laws.  
What matters is not how isomorphic it is to the "nature of the universe" but that people can agree on 
it.  Hmm, just like the success of XML is based not on its being an optimal encoding for data, but 
rather an encoding everyone can agree on.


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