Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How nerdy are you?

I was watching a videos series with our Bible study the other night on the topic of historical revisionism. As an example of how meaning does not arise ex nihilo (out of nothing), but is informed by our historical experiences, the lecturer showed a series of numbers and asked what they meant. One sequence began with "1" -- everyone in the video, and in my head, I too said "that's the number one." The next number in the sequence was "11" -- of which I thought, that's 3.

That would make me nerdy; I know that there are only 10 kinds of people in the world. I'm in the set that understands binary.

That wasn't really the "trick" of the sequence. The sequence ended with "911" -- which everyone identified as "9-1-1", not "nine hundred eleven" and "9/11", both of which have a completely different meaning than they did only a few years ago.