The strangeness of boundaries

I have posted several threads over the three years I’ve been here that deal in one way or another with the illusion of boundaries, borders, demarcation lines, etc. There have been a few of those threads that got interesting with varying views of what these concepts imply about our reasoning skills and our perceptions.

The latest phenomenon to catch my attention as another instance of this “border” issue is the zone where weather systems fade away into nondescript conditions. By that I mean things like the blobs you see on radar when a stormy portion of green and orange and red coloring gives way to some neutral color that says “nothing to see here, move along.”

Other things that I’ve mentioned like this include:

  1. state lines
  2. the exact moment when The Renaissance began
  3. those maps that show the ranges of trees, birds, wolves, minerals, religious preferences, political persuasions, speech patterns, and so on
  4. the instant between life and death (on both ends of the time frame)
  5. what’s “outside” the Known Universe?

There have to be other phenomena that haven’t caught my attention as readily as these. Can you think of other examples that we use to separate Reality into zones of arbitrary distinction?

How’s this: there was a moment in the recent past when I wasn’t thinking about this, and now I am thinking about it. What caused that shift and could I draw a map of my brain functions to separate the Before from the After?

This is MPSIMS (or at least it is as I type this) so anything you’re thinking would fit, unless this is really a serious question or really pisses somebody off. (For that matter, maybe the demarcations that permit the Mods to move topics around from forum to forum might fall under this topic’s scope.)

Anyway, that’s what this thread is about – or was.

  1. Insane vs Sane
  2. Coke vs Pepsi
  3. Hi Opal!

Asleep vs. awake
Sober vs. drunk - some people can stay in a nebulous zone for hours, whereas I seem to pass from complete sobriety to shitfacedness in about 10 seconds.
Any emotional state: sad vs. depressed, happy vs. elated
Adolescent - adult - middle aged - old - Wal-Mart greeter

The one about asleep/awake is one that I enjoy tampering with consciously: I try to will myself to stay awake when I know I’m about to doze off. I will do this when watching TV and knowing that I’m about to nod away. It’s especially daunting when I’m not TiVoing something and really don’t want to miss whatever it is I’m “watching.”

The flip side of this is to be totally aware of the program one instant and then wake up some time after the program is gone and try to backtrack to the very last thing you can remember that you’re sure you saw or heard. There must be something like a computer’s Recycle Bin where this stuff is stored…

bread vs. toast

Within the discipline of Anthropology, when an individual transitions from one social identity into another (for instance: male & female initiation into adulthood) they pass through an intermediate phase termed the “liminal state” where they are (in this example) neither child nor adult. Liminal in this sense means threshold. There is usually some sort of ritual or custom that marks this transition.

Here is the wiki article on the subject.

There are many such examples of liminal states and their corresponding rituals in our own society (babies and baptism, brides and weddings, students and graduation, etc.).

It is a facinating subject.

There’s an argument for the line between male/female being a murky and unclear one.

Good ideas. I often wonder if our conditioning in a binary state world, what with True/False, Right/Wrong, Yes/No, Odd/Even, keep going to your heart’s content, hasn’t blinded us to the world of “maybe” and its counterparts.

In the little I know about it, Fuzzy Logic tries to address the issue in a systematic way. I think it may apply to your concept.

[Blanche Du Bois] "Ah have always depended on the strangeness of boundaries . . . " [/Blanche Du Bois]

Self vs. non-self

Very nebulous in our household. I’m happy with anything between barely warm to “scrape the char off before buttering”, but the Bookwife likes hers just so.

Chewing gum vs. rubber