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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:firstname.lastname@example.org]
7/9/02 9:39:22 AM, "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <email@example.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.