The Price of Symbolism

   Nothing seems to be defined without a dualism being formed.

   Something is just as much defined, by what it is as what it
   is not. The symbol and the object are often exchanged for 
   each other and that causes problems. 

   For instance, someone may claim that something is a "cup".
   Artists love that, because they like to make things that 
   are almost but not quite a "cup" to the point where it
   is impossible to be sure. Nature does the same thing with
   say, the platypus, which is almost but not quite a mammal,
   reptile, bird, marsupial; or quanta which are almost but
   not quite particles.

   As far as dualisms go, even the color "white" is really 
   "black", and "gray" as well, in terms of it's spectral response. 
   In this same sense, a white piece of paper is also a mirror. 
   Whether a dualism is seen as paradoxical depends on 
   perspectives and parametrizations, and on contrast and brightness. 

   The problems with dualisms is that people sometimes
   shift the importance between symbol and object, and vice versa.
   So, if you say the cup is more important than what you call
   it, you can always be sure someone will understand and
   believe that you have a cup if you hold it up and show it
   to them. Unfortunately, this requires you to carry around
   that particular cup with you, where-ever you go. 

   The other alternative is to create a symbol representing 
   the cup like the word "cup". Unfortunately, in order to 
   completely define that symbol, you have to also define 
   everything that isn't a cup which usually boils down to 
   going through the whole universe and pointing to one thing 
   at a time and saying: "This is not a 'cup'." You really 
   have to do this for each object in the rest of the universe 
   before the definition of the word "cup" is exactly representing
   the specific object you are calling a cup. 
   If you want a more general definition of a cup that includes
   "cup-like" things, then you really have to go through the
   same process of pointing to the each object in the rest of 
   the universe and saying: "this is not 'cup-like'" in order
   to have an exact definition of "cup-like". This is the 
   price must pay for using a symbols to refer to objects
   in an exact sense.
   Of course we don't do that. We are satisfied with a
   "good enough" convergence of the symbols with objects
   without going into infinite convergence so at some    
   point we say we understand what a cup is from sufficient
   examples and shun further attempts at exactness. 

   Only when we try to be exact does the symbol-object
   dualism rear its nasty head and we see this happen
   on occasion in science and philosophy and in law etc.

   One specific example is the iconography in computer
   user interfaces; is the icon the "function it performs" ?
   We may say no, the function is the "underlying code",
   but if that code is only accessible via that icon,
   in a sense the icon _is_ the function and any dissection
   of the code is not the icon. The icon usually suggests
   to us more than than just the underlying code by its 
   relationship to other icons. In a similar manner, specific 
   people mean more to us than just their physical function 
   and/or personality. 
   A measurement is a definition, and both are intrinsically 
   dualisms between what was measured and what wasn't measured.

   The "stability" of a definition is a good way to think of 
   words as dualisms: