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justina bandol
Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2018 6:18:08 PM
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Joined: 12/29/2013
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Location: Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Take capacity. The standard residential elevator is designed to accommodate 12 passengers, all of whom we assume to be of average weight and form. This is the Occupant’s Fallacy. The number 12 does not consider the morbidly obese, or the thin man’s convention and necessity of speedy conveyance at the thin man’s convention. We conform to objects, we capitulate to them. We need to reverse this order. It is failure that guides evolution; perfection provides no incentive for improvement, and nothing is perfect. Nothing we create works the way it should. The car overheats on the highway, the electric can opener cannot open the can. We must tend to our objects and treat them as newborn babes. Our elevators are weak. They tend to get colds easily, they are forgetful. Our elevators ought to be variable in size and height, retractable altogether, impervious to scratches, self-cleaning, possessing a mouth. The thin man’s convention can happen at any time; indeed, they happen all the time…

How should I understand „convention” here? What do you think? This is supposed to be a piece of elevator philosophy.

I'm nearing the end of The Intuitionist.
RuthP
Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2018 6:39:04 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/2/2009
Posts: 5,392
Neurons: 81,608
Location: Drain, Oregon, United States
justina bandol wrote:
Take capacity. The standard residential elevator is designed to accommodate 12 passengers, all of whom we assume to be of average weight and form. This is the Occupant’s Fallacy. The number 12 does not consider the morbidly obese, or the thin man’s convention and necessity of speedy conveyance at the thin man’s convention. We conform to objects, we capitulate to them. We need to reverse this order. It is failure that guides evolution; perfection provides no incentive for improvement, and nothing is perfect. Nothing we create works the way it should. The car overheats on the highway, the electric can opener cannot open the can. We must tend to our objects and treat them as newborn babes. Our elevators are weak. They tend to get colds easily, they are forgetful. Our elevators ought to be variable in size and height, retractable altogether, impervious to scratches, self-cleaning, possessing a mouth. The thin man’s convention can happen at any time; indeed, they happen all the time…

How should I understand „convention” here? What do you think? This is supposed to be a piece of elevator philosophy.

I'm nearing the end of The Intuitionist.

The author is talking about an imaginary convention (big meeting, usually held in a hotel) for thin men. So, if you have a "Thin Man's Convention", then all the conventioneers (attendees) would, presumably be thin. They would weigh less than average. Therefore, in the interests of accommodating rapid transport of many people between floors, it would be reasonable to put more than 12 in an elevator at a time.
justina bandol
Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2018 6:44:27 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/29/2013
Posts: 768
Neurons: 67,593
Location: Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Thank you, RuthP!
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:12:02 PM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
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Umm...Think My first thought on reading this was the social meaning of "convention", as in this definition:

4. A practice or procedure widely observed in a group, especially to facilitate social interaction; a custom: the convention of shaking hands.

5. A widely used and accepted device or technique, as in drama, literature, or painting: the theatrical convention of the aside.

In this case, it would be the convention of thinking that most people are thin. This would, of course, be more prevalent in the last century than today, and I suspect, true at the time of the writing.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
justina bandol
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 1:45:40 AM
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Joined: 12/29/2013
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Neurons: 67,593
Location: Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Well, that was a meaning I contemplated too. But what about the „speedy conveyance at the thin man's convention”? Doesn't that sound a bit stretched?
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 10:07:13 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 10,526
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justina bandol wrote:
Well, that was a meaning I contemplated too. But what about the „speedy conveyance at the thin man's convention”? Doesn't that sound a bit stretched?


I took that to mean limiting the number of people to 12 defeats the desire/necessity for speedy conveyance that everyone wanted.

This was the Occupant's Fallacy, that the elevator could only safely support the weight of 12 people, but that assumes all are of average size. Whereas an elevator might accommodate 8 obese folks, 15 thin folks might safely ride just fine.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Romany
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 5:31:00 AM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
I'm with Ruth in her understanding of the passage; but I also think the writer has stretched it a bit, too.

Obese passengers - well that's a reality today in many places. But a " thin man's convention" is a silly and unreal situation to put up against it. In this instance, I think he would have been better to have left the "unreal" option alone and just spoken about "thin people".

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